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Beware of tiny bats

Sunday, 6th January, 2013

A newborn Southern free-tailed bat is cared for along with its mother by RRANA’s Lindy Hunt. A newborn Southern free-tailed bat is cared for along with its mother by RRANA’s Lindy Hunt.

By Erica Visser

A baby bat and its mother are being cared for by RRANA (Rescue and Rehabilitation of Australian Native Animals) after being found at a local pub.

The tiny Southern free-tailed bat was born four days after its pregnant mother was found and reported to RRANA, member Lindy Hunt said yesterday.

Ms Hunt said that many people still did not know that the bats existed in Broken Hill, although RRANA receives about nine per year.

Often the bats are found in Autumn when they are grounded due to cold weather.

“A lot of people see them on the ground and think they’re mice,” she said.

“It’s important not to handle bats, several RRANA members are immunised to handle bats.

“The main time we get them is Autumn and the main thing to remember is to keep the pets away.

“We don’t have megabats here, just the small ones.”

Ms Hunt said that the bat population was important to conserve as it helped keep insect numbers down.

“A bat can eat 30 per cent of its body weight in insects. For some, that’s 400 mosquitoes a night,” she said.

“Bats form into colonies of 30 to 40 and upwards... so they have a really big impact on insect numbers.”

People who are interested in encouraging bats to nest in their yards can buy bat boxes which provide the perfect dark, snug living space.

However, this is not an option for people with pet cats.

Ms Hunt said that the mother and her pup would be released into the wild as soon as the baby was ready to fly, but at first it would be monitored via a wooden bat box.

The pup is feeding from its mother and would be ready for the wild in around a month, she said.

The mother is enjoying a diet of mealworms, which are highly nutritious when added to a special supplement.

Anyone who comes across a bat at their home may contact RRANA on 0429 204 416.

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