ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. Bat Conservation & Rescue Qld., Carer s Manual

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1 Gilbert was our special education flying-fox. He was a TV star and a super hero who proved to the Animal Welfare Advisory committee that it is not humane to shoot a dark moving target at night. We miss you big buddy! BAT CARER S MANUAL

2 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The first editions of this manual were written for Sydney Wildlife with the help and input of many people. First Edition released 2000, edited by Jenny James. Second Edition released 2004, edited by Linda Wilson. Third Edition released 2005, edited by Helen Kennedy and Liz Shephard. Fourth Edition released 2006, edited by Tim Pearson & Cary Kuiper. For this edition, the assistance of Mary-Anne Bell, Mandi Griffith, Janet Hutchinson, Jenny James, Helen Kennedy, Jodi Lewis, Liz Shephard, and Midge Worley has been invaluable. Fifth Edition released 2007, edited by Tim Pearson, Cary Kuiper for Sydney & Louise Saunders especially for Bat Care Brisbane Inc. Fully revised Edition, 2008, exclusively for Bat Care Brisbane Inc. Edited by Louise Saunders, Karen Hurley and Lisa Meyer. Edition 2009 Edited by Louise Saunders and Denise Wade. Medication checked by Dr Diana McPhee RSPCA Wildlife Vet. Sydney Metropolitan Wildlife (SMW) now recognises this manual as belonging to Bat Conservation & Rescue Qld Inc. BCRQ acknowledge the valuable contribution SMW have made in making this manual what it is today. We trust people will respect the copyright ownership of the content and of the photographs that have kindly been provided by many contributors. Content is not to be reproduced without the permission of the authors. All photos and drawings in this manual remain the property of the person credited and are used with permission. Use of the photos and drawings for any other purpose is expressly prohibited without the permission of the author edition was rewritten by Denise Wade and edited by Louise Saunders edition, Denise Wade and Louise Saunders. (March 2011) Queensland Wildlife Rehabilitation Council (QWRC) endorsed this training manual in August 2011 as having met the criteria as a training module against standards agreed to by the QWRC. Endorsement number: 007/2011. This endorsement is valid for a period of 3 years edition, Denise Wade and Louise Saunders (March 2012) 2013 edition revised by Denise Wade March 2013 Please direct enquiries to: Copyright Louise Saunders March

3 CONTENTS ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS... 2 CONTENTS... 3 FORWARD... 8 GENERAL INFORMATION... 9 PERMITS FOLLOW THE CODE OF PRACTICE... 9 HOUSING NEEDSOF REHABILITATING BATS LONG TERM HEALTH AND RELEASE VIABILTY REMARKABLE HEALING POWERS INTRODUCTION PRECAUTIONARY WARNING BAT CONSERVATION & RESCUE QLD AND BATS VACCINATION POLICY THE BAT PHONE DEALING WITH A MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC IF A CARER / RESCUER IS BITTEN QUEENSLAND HEALTH FLOW CHART WHAT IS A BAT? FLYING-FOXES - MEGACHIROPTERA BRISBANE S FLYING-FOXES AGE CHART MICROBATS - MICROCHIROPTERA BAT IDENTIFICATION - DO I HAVE A MICROBAT OR A MEGABAT? BAT RESCUE PREPARATION FOR A RESCUE PHOTOS AND EDUCATIONAL BROCHURES RESCUE EQUIPMENT RESCUE KIT OPTIONAL EXTRAS: AT THE RESCUE - KEEP S A F E HANDLING TECHNIQUES FOR RESCUE & REHAB UNDERSTANDING THE LOCKING MECHANISM OF TOES AND THUMBS COMMON RESCUE SCENARIOS Microbats on the ground March

4 Microbats in the house Once you have the bat: Flying-Fox unable to fly or found on the ground Bat already in a box Pick-Up and transport Bat at the Vet Baby Bat on dead mother Bat on Power Lines Baby flying-fox as above (page 34) Entanglement Netting and Barbed Wire Specifics for Barbed Wire rescues: INITIAL ASSESSMENT & FIRST AID Euthanasia EMERGENCY TREATMENT Shock How to accurately assess core body temperatures Treatment for Shock Observation, IP Fluids and Bed Rest Steps to Treat Shock Exposure Rehydration IP Fluids Transportation Adult Flying-Fox just rescued and ready to transport Baby Flying-Foxes Recording and Reporting Measuring and Weighing Techniques Care and Rehabilitation of Flying-Foxes Basic First-aid Principles ASSESSMENT OF INJURIES Recognising injuries Pain Management Holding and Assessing a Flying-Fox Check the wings and thumbs Examine the body and head Examine legs and toes Injuries and Their Treatment Injuries March

5 Bed Rest Assessing the core body temperature of a flying fox Antibiotics and Pain Shock Any animal found on the ground must be treated for shock urgently and not allowed to hang.58 Broken Bones Barbed-wire Injuries Finger and Membrane Damage Burns Body and limbs Mouths Membrane Broken, Missing or Worn Teeth Bruising Concussion Dehydration Assessing the level of dehydration Oral Rehydration Dislocations Electrocution Adults Babies Exposed Bones Exposure Holes and tears in Membrane Inflammation and Swelling Netting Injuries Palate and Mouth Damage Thumb Injuries Wounds and Grazes Using spray bandage Diseases, Other Causes and Problems Lyssavirus (ABL) Signs of Lyssavirus may include: Hendra Virus (HeV) Leptospirosis Rat Lungworm (Angiostrongylus Cantonensis) March

6 Cocos Palms Dog/Cat Attack Diarrhoea Eye Injuries Fungal Infections Maggots & Fly eggs Mites Pneumonia Nycteribiidae Care of Adult Flying-Foxes Bed Rest Holistic Healing and Success to Release Housing Hospital cage or enclosure Hospital cage setup Outdoor Enclosure setup Batmaxes Cleaning Feeding What to feed Smoothie Recipes Leadbeater s Mix Dave Pinson s Banana Smoothie Feeding Mix for Little Red Flying Foxes Ongoing Care and Rehabilitation Release Camira Release Site Enrichment Lending a Hand at Crèche and Release Time Additional Information TIPS FOR DIFFERENT RESCUES Phone Co-ordinator to Rescuer NETTING RESCUES BARBED WIRE RESCUES DOG ATTACK AND CAR HITS ELECTROCUTION March

7 BROKEN BONES WHICH DRUG OR PAIN RELIEVER DO I USE? A GUIDE TO CHOOSING THE CORRECT AND APPROPRIATE MEDICATION FOR A WOUND OR INJURY ANTIBIOTICS ASPRO CLEAR 300 mg TABLET CHILDREN S PANADOL PAINSTOP FOR CHILDREN DAY-TIME PAIN RELIEVER METACAM TRAMADOL TEMGESIC Appendix A: Medications and Most Commonly Used Drugs AMOXYCLAV 50, CLAVULOX 50, NOROCLAV ASPRO CLEAR 300mg - Description and Indications Active Dosage & Frequency Mixing and Method of Administration CHILDRENS PANADOL (100mg/ml) BETAMOX PALATABLE DROPS PAINSTOP METACAM Appendix B: Resources Appendix C: Contacts, Bat Conservation & Rescue Qld. Inc Appendix D: Australian Bat Lyssavirus, Further reading March

8 FORWARD Talking about "Climate Change Myths" Tim Low points out that contrary to popular belief many plants won't need to migrate in response to climate change. Fossil and genetic evidence suggests that Eucalypts, Banksias and many other woodland trees survive climate change in situ by producing genetically variable offspring, some of which prove well adapted to new climatic conditions. This is made possible by a very high investment in pollination, which sometimes occurs between different tree species, resulting in the rapid evolution of new eucalypts by hybridisation. Eucalypts hybridise on a scale unmatched by any other trees on earth. Australian plants invest very heavily in pollination compared with trees in Europe and North America, most of which are pollinated by wind. Australia is the only continent in which the dominant trees are pollinated largely by birds and mammals (some of which are highly mobile) as well as by insects. During times of climate change the most mobile pollinators are especially important because they can spread pollen large distances between large numbers of trees, maximising the opportunities for gene flow. The most mobile pollinators are flying foxes, lorikeets and migratory honeyeaters. These animals provide climate change insurance to our trees. Their numbers should not be allowed to fall any lower. Tim Low is the author of six books including The New Nature, which ends with a plea for tolerance of all Flying-foxes. Photo: Cathie Howie March

9 GENERAL INFORMATION As there is very little regulation of wildlife carers or care organisations throughout Queensland, it remains the responsibility of individual organisations to insist that their members adhere to appropriate standards of rearing, rehabilitation, euthanasia and release and that the Code of Practice is followed. These standards are required to ensure the welfare and future survival of the animals in our care. Bat Conservation and Rescue Qld. Inc. (BCRQ) has set high standards so we can achieve acceptable levels of competency and our guidelines are based on best practice from accumulated experiences, the Code of Practice and scientific data. We also provide guidance on human health and safety. Our standards and guidelines are for the welfare of both carer and bats. If these standards are lowered, animals will suffer. PERMITS FOLLOW THE CODE OF PRACTICE Bat Conservation and Rescue Qld. would like all members to be familiar with the Orphaned, Sick or Injured Protected Wildlife Code of Practice (see members area of our web site). We are in the business of education, rescue and rehabilitation and not keeping bats as pets. Please be mindful that bats are social animals that have a long life span (20 years in captivity and around years in the wild) and how cruel that life will be if an animal is not free to fly and live a social and meaningful life with other bats. Bats that cannot be released back to the wild, after assessment and discussion with the rehabilitation co-ordinators, are to be given the gift of swift and humane euthanasia. BCRQ does not endorse a life at any cost' philosophy. Please remember that these are wild animals that were born to live a wild life and we must therefore respect their right to be free spirits and not inflict upon them a life of social and sensory deprivation in captivity. DEHP no longer issue individuals with permits to keep protected wildlife for the aforementioned reasons. As financial members under BCRQ's rehabilitation permit, you are permitted to rescue and care for bat species only. All bats entering care remain the responsibility of BCQR only and must go through our rehabilitation process as stated in the conditions of BCQR's permit, granted by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, Eco Access Permit Division. If you are called upon to do a rescue for another organization, you will still be rescuing under Bat Conservation and Rescue Qld s permit. Naturally the bat s welfare comes first and if you choose to attend, as a courtesy and for insurance purposes, you MUST call the BCQR rescue phone so we are aware that you are attending a rescue. We can then log the details and monitor your safety. Please remind the other organisations representative that as you are only authorised to carry out the rescue as a member of BCRQ, the responsibility for the animal s welfare must remain the business of BCQR under the conditions of our permit. Our failure to adhere to the conditions as stated by DEHP, could result in our permit being revoked. The management of Bat Conservation and Rescue Qld. need to know which organisation you are raising and rehabilitating bats for as this affects our permit and your behaviour/treatment of animals is our concern. We cannot risk losing our permit through inadvertent contraventions of the stated conditions. Please refer to BCQR Member By-Law No. 7. March

10 HOUSING NEEDSOF REHABILITATING BATS Photo: Cathie Howie In the past, the housing conditions of some animals in rehab have not been conducive to their effective rehabilitation (Code of Practice 1.8 b & 11). It has been stated on many occasions that if you do not have the correct and appropriate facilities to house bats - i.e. the company of another bat and an appropriately sized cage (not a cat carry cage or similar) to enable flapping and the stretching of wings, then these animals must go to another rehabber who does. All animals in care must have room to socialise, exercise and be free to participate in natural behaviours. They must be able to stretch and flap their wings and have access to shelter and natural sunlight. After initial first aid and medication has been completed and when feeling well enough, flying-foxes must also be given the opportunity to fly, as this will help to minimise membrane contracture in animals off barbed wire and netting. A flight cage will also assist in keeping muscles in peak condition and this in turn, will hasten recovery time for bats in rehab. Batmaxes are suitable accommodation for orphans and for the short term care of adults but a single animal must not be kept alone in a Batmax or outdoor aviary. In this instance, the flying-fox is to be housed in a hospital cage until it is well enough to go to another carer with animals in rehab and an approved flight aviary. No animal should be kept by itself for longer than 7 days unless discussed with a rehab co-ordinator. Flying-foxes are social creatures and denying them company will only result in miserable, stressed and unhappy bats which will hinder their recovery. After this initial care period has concluded, take your flyingfox to another member who has bats in care. Please notify a rehab co-ordinator before you release your animal or move it to another carer. You are responsible for the ongoing maintenance of this animal s record and you must update all records if you move the bat to another carer, release the animal or have it euthanased. Please ensure you provide a Microbat/Flying-fox Report form for all bats coming into care as this record needs to go with the bat whenever it is moved to another carer. The history recorded on this sheet provides invaluable information to subsequent carers whenever the bat is moved. This data sheet must be sent to the Secretary of BCRQ within 3 months of the animal being released or euthanased. Whenever we have a group of animals ready for release, they are taken to our Camira release facility for a group release. All juveniles are required to be soft released with other animals at the Camira facility where they can be support fed following release. However, all rehab animals will benefit from this process and they will integrate into the local flying-fox camp. Adult flying-foxes can fly 50 to 100 kilometres in a single night and they have a mental map of every camp site across the greater Brisbane area. Releasing into one particular colony will not be detrimental as there are continual population shifts amongst the camps. March

11 Conditions other than these are not humane to the animals entrusted to us and reflect poorly upon our duty of care as an organisation. If you wish to be a rehabber please contact the rehab co-ordinator for advice on how to make a bat friendly flight cage. See the section on page 83 for a more detailed and comprehensive explanation of the appropriate use of Batmaxes and specific housing requirements for rehabbing bats. FOR EXAMPLE: - A single bat comes into care off barbed wire. It is anticipated to need 7 to 10 days antibiotic/pain relief medication and would be housed in a hospital cage. (First couple of days maybe too sore, tired and in pain and may need to be fully supported in bed in a cat cage).after 7 days or medication is completed, single bat must be given to another rehabber with animals in care. If another animal comes into care whilst medicating the first animal, both animals may be kept in a Batmax for a maximum of 3 weeks before being transferred to a carer with a flight aviary. Photo: Marg Snowden LONG TERM HEALTH AND RELEASE VIABILTY Again refer to the Code of Practice (6.1). An initial assessment must be made in consultation with a bat knowledgeable vet (please ask who, as they are very, very scarce) or by the rehab co-ordinators as to the long-term release prospects for your bat. We have a constant stream of wild adult female bats passing through our network and these animals fulfil the role of 'den mother' for our orphans without the need for permanent care animals. When attempting long term rehabilitation with any animal, issues to be considered include- Temperament is the bat miserable or is it a contented patient? Carer time to treat and medicate. This could include daily massage and intensive physio. Unless you have approved facilities, all bats in long term care must be handed on to a member who has a flight cage with other bats in care. Facilities Short term housing where bats are happy and safe. Batmaxes are ideal for short term housing provided you have more than one animal in care. Companions as community animals it is important to have other bat mates who are also recovering. Do you need to pass the bat onto another carer who has more experience with this particular injury or simply has more time for treatment? Do you have the time required to attend ongoing veterinary appointments? March

12 REMARKABLE HEALING POWERS Assessment of injuries can be a very difficult area to negotiate successfully and we are constantly learning and expanding our knowledge of injury viability. Unfortunately, not all animals will have favourable outcomes and there are many issues to consider before either euthanasing or attempting rehabilitation. Some injuries have predictable outcomes but sometimes we err on the side of optimism and give animals a chance at rehabilitation. Not all of these gambles will pay off and we need to understand that animals may still have to be euthanased after time in rehab. Please discuss viability with a rehab co-ordinator before euthanasing any bat. Even if you are standing with the vet and the vet is ready to euthanase, a quick phone call can have a huge impact on that flying-foxes life. Photo: M&J Janssens With the right medication and care this membrane will heal quickly. March

13 INTRODUCTION This section of the Bat Conservation and Rescue Qld. Carer's Manual on Rescue is dedicated to the rescue, general care and rehabilitation of flying-foxes and should be used in conjunction with Part 2. Raising Baby Flying-foxes. Some information for rescue can be valuable for rearing and some rearing information is useful if the volunteer is rescuing a baby. The Committee of Bat Conservation and Rescue Qld. request all new and existing members read, understand and adhere to the ethics and guidelines set out in these manuals. We require this of our members so that appropriate standards of care are maintained and that our methods are consistent across our membership. Some methods change as we learn more about bat physiology and improve our knowledge of bat husbandry but many of our methods remain consistent and must not change or bats may suffer or die. You will find a copy of our By-laws on our Membership Form as well as online and we request that you read and understand them for the benefit of all bats and carers. We require you to spend one day per year with us at our Rescue and Rehabilitation training and another day at our baby training day From Beds to Branches to learn the basic principals involved in rescuing and caring for a baby bat. These training days are compulsory as we are always learning new and exciting things about bats and treatment for injuries is constantly evolving. Please keep your manual handy and refer to it whenever you need to medicate an animal in your care or you just need some assistance or direction. If you do not find the answers you need in these pages, please call for some assistance. A rehab co-ordinator or mentor will be able to point you in the right direction and can offer advice on whether veterinary assessment or intervention is required. Never put off asking for advice as your baby's life or the life of your rescue bat could depend upon getting the correct information. Future editions of this manual will be created from the valuable input from all members and all BCRQ resources can be found online. PRECAUTIONARY WARNING Although at present Hendra Virus is thought to be transmissible only between horses and humans, you must still exercise extreme caution and protect yourself against any possible contamination. As Hendra virus has been found in flying-fox urine, foetal tissue and fluids, we must be especially careful when dealing with a birthing or aborting flying-fox. YOU MUST wear latex gloves, a face mask and protective clothing during any interactions between yourself and the products of a miscarriage or birth. Maintain strict hygiene by washing your hands after handling all flying-foxes and clean your equipment with hot soapy water and bleach or disinfectant. If you are required to submit any material to Biosecurity Qld. please triple bag it in ziplock bags and do not put this material into your home refrigerator, no matter how well it is wrapped or sealed. Instead, call Biosecurity and arrange for them to pick up the bat as soon as possible. Always wash your hands thoroughly after giving any treatment and after handling bats. Hendra Virus image from DEEDI website. March

14 BAT CONSERVATION & RESCUE QLD AND BATS As Bat Conservation and Rescue Qld. is a solely bat dedicated organisation, we have a few special requirements. It is essential that rescuers have completed BCRQ bat training, that rescuers are vaccinated against Rabies (which will protect you from Australian Bat Lyssavirus- according to Q Health and DEHP) and that you maintain acceptable levels of immunity. All rescue calls must go through the dedicated Bat Phone' on so that we can record and correlate rescue information. This information can then be used to facilitate change. There is no point raising orphaned baby flying-foxes to adulthood if we cannot improve the safety of the environment in which they live. We all need to identify and work towards removing the hazards they encounter on a daily basis and we can attempt to do this at every rescue we attend. Please assist by collecting information and photographic data. This may help to facilitate change in the use of barbed wire and backyard fruit tree netting and to also heighten the level of tolerance, acceptance and awareness towards bats, the most maligned of our wildlife species. VACCINATION POLICY Due to the increased potential for exposure to Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABLV), Bat Conservation and Rescue Qld. requires all members who wish to handle bats be vaccinated against rabies. This is also a ruling under the DEHP Code of Practice for bat handlers. All Active Members are required to keep their Titre Levels checked as per the schedule below as advised by Dr Deb the Travel Doctor s office. Titre level to be check two weeks after initial vaccination and then in twelve month s time; using the results of the second test a blood test should be carried out as follows:- Titre level >4 blood test every two years. Titre level <4 blood test annually. If your titre level falls below 2 you should speak to your doctor regarding a booster vaccination. A copy of this result must be provided to the Membership Secretary each year with your membership renewal. Bat carers with inadequate titre levels are NOT permitted to handle bats. It remains the responsibility of the individual member to ensure that their titre levels are monitored and maintained at satisfactory levels. BCRQ recommend that your levels do not drop below 2.00 IU/ml. Dr. Deb the Travel Doctor, provides an annual titre level testing reminder service for members or testing is available from Sullivan and Nicolaides. Levels must be maintained above 0.50 IU/m. THE BAT PHONE You will receive calls for rescues from the phone co-ordinator and you will be given as much information as was available at the time. The caller may also require you to phone them and notify them of your estimated time of arrival. The phone co-ordinator will record the rescue and it is then the rescuers responsibility to complete their records. If the animal goes to another member for rehab, it is the second member's responsibility to complete the record. Maintaining accurate and updated records are vitally important. Please do not neglect this area of our business. The phone co-ordinator is the person to contact if you have any problems at the rescue or if you need advice or assistance. If you need to pass an animal on to another carer following rescue or after completion of medication, please contact a rehab co-ordinator. Please always notify the phone coordinator of the outcome of the rescue and provide weights and forearm measurements. March

15 If you receive calls privately to rescue bats, please ensure that you pass the details onto the phone co-ordinator so we can collect data on the problems affecting our bats. We also need details of any other bat rescues you perform for insurance purposes. It is a requirement that only appropriately vaccinated volunteers are sent on rescues. For your safety, please report all bat rescues to the phone co-ordinator as soon as you received them. DEALING WITH A MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC Information that is given to a member of the public may result in a legal liability to you or to Bat Conservation and Rescue Qld. Therefore, when attending a rescue, please do not make comment regarding viruses or disease risk. Refer them to either Q Health or DAFF for further information. If a member of the public has been bitten or scratched, the only information you can safely offer is to insist that they immediately wash (not scrub) the wound for 5 minutes with soap and running water and to then contact their doctor. The President must be informed immediately whereupon he/she will advise the member of the public of the low but potential risk of infection. The President will then follow up with Q Health in accordance with their procedures. The carer may be asked to euthanase the animal as a C3 bat and Q health will arrange for the animal to be delivered to the laboratory for testing. If you are a recipient of free vaccinations by Q Health, you may well be called upon to perform this duty as per your signed agreement. Please note your mileage and time as you may be eligible for reimbursement of fuel costs and a meal subsidy. Do not attempt to give more details about types of diseases or comment on the likelihood of contracting a disease. We need to ensure people are given the latest and up to date CORRECT information. IF A CARER / RESCUER IS BITTEN Please ensure you wear protective clothing for every rescue and while assessing and administering first aid to bats. Remember, bats are wild animals with very formidable teeth and claws. When frightened or in pain they will bite and they may lash out. In stressful situations such as a rescue, their behaviour can be unpredictable and you must exercise extreme caution. Always wear gloves and sleeve protectors and maintain a firm grip around the back of the head. DO NOT BE COMPLACENT DO NOT EXPOSE YOURSELF TO THE POTENTIAL DANGERS FROM BITES AND THEREFORE ALSO RISK THE BATS LIFE. THE NEXT TIME A CARER DIES FROM LYSSAVIRUS THE AUTHORITIES MAY STOP PEOPLE FROM RESCUING AND CARING FOR THESE MAGNIFICENT MAMMALS. BATS DON T GET OFF LIGHTLY EITHER PLEASE DO NOT GET BITTEN! Wear appropriate clothing when handling a bat. When in public we have a duty of care to show people that they must not think they can pick up a bat with bare hands. We must lead by example. If you are bitten, wash the wound immediately with soap under running water for 5 minutes. Immediately call the BCRQ president who will then advise appropriate action. March

16 QUEENSLAND HEALTH FLOW CHART Feeding a Greater broad nose microbat a mealworm note those sharp teeth! Photo: Marg Snowden March

17 WHAT IS A BAT? Bats are placental mammals of the order Chiroptera (hand-winged) and are the world s only true flying mammals. There are over 1000 species worldwide, occurring on every continent except Antarctica. Of these, over 90 species are native to Australia. They are divided into two sub orders: Megachiroptera (flying-foxes, tube-nosed fruit bats and blossom bats) and Microchiroptera (insectivorous or micro bats). In this manual we are referring to the care and rehabilitation of flyingfoxes. A separate manual is available for microbat care. Bats appear to have arisen in tropical regions and to have spread to temperate areas but not much further. Megachiropteran groups in Australia are primarily coastal, occurring from Melbourne and around the coast (anticlockwise) to Western Australia. Microchiropteran groups occur across all areas of Australia on both the mainland (including arid inland areas) and in Tasmania. In both microbat and megabat the hand has been adapted as a wing. Over millions of years their finger bones have elongated to form a supporting structure for the wing membrane, which stretches from finger 2, down the side of the body all the way to the side of the foot. This very flexible membrane is composed of two layers of skin, encompassing fine muscles, elastic fibres and blood vessels. Other adaptations to flight include reduced bone size, rotation of the hips, reduced muscle in the legs and the development of an extra membrane between the legs. Generally speaking, bats cannot walk, although several microbat species will come to the ground for prey and scuttle around on toes and wings. The tendons in the foot ensure that the claws are locked in the hook position when the bat is at rest and must be actively opened to disengage the claw. Bats tend to have a long life span (even the small ones) and are slow to reach sexual maturity. They breed in a specific season (varies with the species but is usually in Spring) and may have one or two young, depending on the species. Megabats usually only give birth to a single baby. There are three Megachiropteran groups in Australia: flying-foxes, tube-nosed fruit bats and blossom bats. All feed on blossom or fruits or both. There are six families of microbats in Australia with widely varying diets, although most are insectivorous. Some are also carnivorous eating small frogs, mice, lizards and even other bats. FLYING-FOXES - MEGACHIROPTERA Flying-foxes are large and extremely social bats that live in colonies, often in their thousands in primarily forests and mangroves. There are four main species of flying-fox in Australia: Black Flying-Fox (Pteropus alecto) - found in coastal areas from northern NSW across the top of Australia to approximately Shark Bay in WA. Spectacled Flying-Fox (Pteropus conspicillatus) - found in northern coastal Queensland. Grey-headed Flying-Fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) - found from southern Queensland to southern Victoria. Little Red Flying-Fox (Pteropus scapulatus) - found overlapping the other species territory in theory but rarely south of Newcastle NSW. March

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