What do you think of when you think about bats? Vampires? Dracula? Bats getting caught in your hair?
For years, bats have been the innocent scapegoat for movie makers and storytellers.
Bats are one of the most diverse mammal species on the planet, making up a quarter of all mammal species. The smallest bat is the Bumblebee bat from Thailand that has a wingspan of just 15 cm, by comparison the largest bat, the Giant Flying Fox in India has a wingspan of 2 metres!
When most people think about bats, they think of Flying Foxes, as these larger bats congregate in large groups and can be quite noisy as they squabble amongst themselves.
The smaller micro-bats are rarely seen, but can sometimes be observed catching insects that have been attracted to the bright lights at sporting fields and lookouts, which they catch using echolocation.
Bats are essential for the health of our ecosystems. Flying Foxes are essential pollinators and seed dispersers, and microbats are natures insect controllers - eating up to a quarter of their body weight every night.
We have 81 species of bats in Australia. Eleven of these are Flying Foxes, and the other 70 species are all microbats. In the Blue Mountains, we have approximately 22 species of bats.
Next time you are lucky enough to see a bat, whether it is a Flying Fox or a small microbat, marvel at the jobs they do for us, pollinating our forests and controlling insect populations.