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Homes can harbour tiny winter guests

Friday, 3rd May, 2013

A group of microbats huddled in the corner of a home. A group of microbats huddled in the corner of a home.

Bats will soon be looking for a warm place to hide for the winter, and National Parks and Wildlife have released tips to ensure the winged critters don't choose your home.

Broken Hill's microbat population is in a feeding frenzy as they fatten up on insects to see them through the cold months.

If they take up residence in your roof or walls, autumn is a good time for a gentle bat eviction before they bunk down for hibernation.

"Microbats are much more common than you may think," says Susanna Bradshaw, CEO of the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife.

"Many of our microbat species are hollow-dependent which means they live during the daylight hours inside the hollows of trees or branches.

"Competition from birds, possums and gliders, along with the clearing of many old trees, means that microbats may find the roof or walls of your home the perfect roosting place."

If these tiny bats cannot find a suitable hollow, they can slip into gaps as small as 5mm and snuggle down in your roof and walls. This is why artificial roost sites are important as they provide an alternative that everyone can be happy with.

(You can buy a microbat nest box from http://hollowloghomes.com/NESTBOXES.html. Or visit www.backyardbuddies.net.au to find how to build your own microbat roost box, and download a free fact sheet).

"Broken Hill microbats are fully protected which might raise the issue of offences and penalties if any are in fact harmed," explains Ms Bradshaw.

"If you want microbats out of your walls, first provide an alternative roost site outside such as a nest box.

Then, if done correctly, your walls can become bat free and the little bats will happily stick around your backyard to go about their insect eating work, which is of great benefit to all of us."

(If you have microbats in your walls or roof, see Bat Rescue Inc., at www.batrescue.org.au).

Anyone who discovers an injured bat is encouraged to contact RRANA on their 24- hour number: 0429 204 416.

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