Bats of the Hill
Monday, 3rd June, 2019
By Emily Ferguson
Most people are unaware of the bats of Broken Hill, says a local rescue group, which has just released one of our little friends back into the wild.
A Lesser Long-eared Bat was found about 30 kilometres outside Broken Hill late last week, and although it is an uncommon species, they have previously made their way to the local Australian fauna care group.
RRANA’s Aaron Grieve said the bat - dubbed “Fuzzy” by the media - did not appear injured, but was very bright and managed to eat a few mealworms.
“All we have done is keep him quiet and confined to a small container so he can sleep,” said Aaron.
There are thousands of bats around Broken Hill, according to RRANA, and they don’t harm anyone.
Many different species of microbats live in the Silver City.
“Over the years we have had Little Forest, Southern Freetail, Gould’s Wattled, Greater Long-eared and Yellow-bellied Sheath-tailed Bats in care,” said Aaron. “Most are successfully released close to where they are encountered.”
Bats can be found in large colonies or individually, colonies of bats can be found in manmade structures like roofs or more natural areas such as hollow areas in trees.
“Members of the public should not handle bats because of the risk of Lyssavirus, which is similar to rabies,” Aaron said.
“RRANA has a member who is vaccinated against rabies and can safely handle a bat.
“The chances of a bat having this virus is very remote, but it’s best to be careful.
“If you are bitten by a bat, wash the area well with disinfectant and seek medical attention in a timely fashion.”
“As it is winter, we ask people to check logs of wood before they put it in household fires because often that log of wood may be a bat’s home,” he said.
Microbat species that are found around the Far West only eat insects so they provide a great service in keeping the insect population at bay.
A mircobat weighs only 10 grams and may eat up to half its bodyweight in mosquitoes every night when it’s warm.
RRANA have safely released the microbat.
If anyone comes across a bat or any other injured native animal, contact RRANA on 0429 204 416.