Backyard Buddies

Photo: Doug Beckers


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Microbats use their tail or wings to catch large insects which they carry to their favourite feeding site - look for piles of insect "bits" on the ground.

Microbats see with their ears rather than their eyes. They produce a sound and "listen" for it as it bounces back from surrounding objects. The time the sound takes to travel back to them tells the bat how close the object is.

Females may fly hundreds of kilometres to special maternity sites to raise their babies.

Microbats make up one fifth of all Australian mammals, and there are more than 60 different types.

When cruising, microbats emit about 10 pulses per second. When an insect is detected the pulses go up to over 100 per second.

During summer and autumn, microbats go into a feeding frenzy as they fatten up on insects to see them through the coming winter. Once the nights become cooler and the insects disappear, microbats lower their body temperature and go into a state of mini-hibernation until their food returns in spring.

Microbats can eat as much as 40% of their own body weight in a single night, or several hundred insects per hour.

The smallest microbat weighs only 3 grams. If these tiny bats cannot find a suitable hollow, they can fit into very small gaps and utilise your roof and walls. This is why artificial roost sites are important as they provide an alternative.

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. By providing little bats with roost sites, your backyard can become a better home for microbats.

Simple things that you do can make a huge difference to Australia’s animals. That’s why the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife is running Backyard Buddies— to give you tips to help.

What is a backyard buddy?

Backyard buddies are the native animals that share our built-up areas, our beaches and waterways, our backyards and our parks. The microbat is a backyard buddy. 

Backyard buddies are also the local people who value the living things around them, like microbats, and are willing to protect and encourage them by doing a few simple things around their own homes.

So you can be a backyard buddy.

Be a backyard buddy

It’s easy. All you have to do is care... and take a few simple steps.

Step one is to find out what microbats do and do not like.

Microbats love:

Lots of insects – to give them enough supplies to last the winter months.

A safe place to live – such as caves, storm water pipes, tree hollows, under bark, cracks in posts, dried palm leaves or junction boxes. They are fussy about conditions and will use a particular site at different times of the year.

Night lights – to attract insects. Microbats can often be spotted swooping insects around park lights.

But they don’t like:

Being disturbed – especially when roosting in winter. They are very slow to “wake up” and easy prey to cats if their roost is disturbed. Disturbance and subsequent harm is the main reason microbats come into care.

Be a microbat buddy

Try to:


Don’t be surprised if:

Find out more about your buddies

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