I was lucky enough to photograph this Little Forest Bat Vespadelus vulturnus recently on an annual fauna survey in the Latrobe Valley in Gippsland.
This microbat is one of the smallest in Australia and only weighs 3-6 grams. As its name suggests the Little Forest Bat is usually confined to eucalypt forests where there are suitable hollows for roosting and rearing young. It will roost and breed in other areas though including nearby buildings. Found throughout south-east Australia including Tasmania it can be present in reasonable numbers in some forested areas and was one of the most commonly recorded during our surveys.
Competition for tree hollows by introduced birds such as the Indian Myna as well as clearing of vegetation for agriculture and housing developments has reduced the numbers of this and other bat species in the region. Little Forest Bats have been known, however, to roost together with possums in their nest possibly due to lack of tree hollows or just for their warmth in winter. In the winter period the bats usually go through a period of torpor where their heart slows and they become inactive.
They say that bats have a face only a mother could love but I’ve always had a soft spot for them.