Microbats are small flying mammals that belong to the Order Chiroptera. They are nocturnal, emerging at dusk to feed on insects using echolocation. Microbats use a wide range of habitats. They roost in tree hollows, under bark, in hollow fence posts, caves and are also commonly found in house wall and roof cavities.
Microbats play an important role in ecosystem services by eating a variety of insects, many of which are pests to people and livestock such as mosquitoes, moths, beetles, caterpillars and termites. On a single night, microbats can eat up to 40% of their own body weight.
In 2014, Young District Landcare received funding from Riverina Local Land Services to undertake our project, Microbats in the Young Shire. The project is designed to provide habitat for up to 15 species of microbat through the installation of roosting boxes, the provision of future habitat through tree and shrub planting, and also aims to increase community awareness.
To date, the project has achieved many milestones. We have installed 140 microbat roosting boxes at various locations across Young. Planting days at Chance Gully and Burrandong Creek have provided future habitat, and a plant giveaway donated 1000 trees and shrubs to the Young Community. Four interpretive signs have been installed at public locations and a factsheet Wildlife of the Young Shire – Microbats was produced.
We also held ‘Bat Night’ with an expert speaker that provided information on microbats and included a walk along Burrandong Creek where a demonstration was provided using an Anabat detector. Anabat detectors monitor the echolocation calls of bats to determine species identification. Further funding allowed Young District Landcare to purchase two Anabat detectors and provide training to 10 of our members to enable ongoing monitoring of the roosting boxes.
Our Project Partners – Riverina LLS, WIRES, Young Shire Council, The Young Men’s Shed, Lachlan Valley Tree Services