Researchers estimate that there are between 900 and 1,200 species of bats worldwide. Bats make up one-fifth of the world’s mammalian population around the world. Think about that. Of all warm-blooded creatures with fur, such as cows, dogs, deer, and humans, one of every five is a bat.
With so many species of bats, enthusiasts are often eager to learn about rare breeds that aren’t native to their neck of the woods. Central Plains Bat Removal typically sees the brown bat and silver-haired bat. The midwest is not home to many rare bat breeds. Let’s take a look at a few of our local bats’ international cousins to get a sense of the variety of bats in our global ecosystem.
In particular, we’ll focus on Australian bats. Our bat friends from down under are also beneficial to their environment, eating thousands of insects every evening and pollinating fruit trees to help feed all sort of animal species, including humans.
There are 77 species of bats in Australia. They range in size from being as small as a human thumb to the largest bats in the world. These big guys are megabats, known as flying foxes. These bats dwarf any bats you can find around the Central Plains, weighing between 1 and 2 pounds and with wingspans up to 5 feet across.
Like bats worldwide, flying fox bats are in steep decline. Heat waves caused by climate change threaten Australian megabats, as do electrical wires, barbed wire fencing, tall buildings, and deforestation and habitat loss. In some cases, farmers culled groups of Australian flying fox bats in an attempt to protect their fruit trees. They did this in spite of the bats performing an essential role in pollination.
Australia’s mainland has four species of the flying fox: little red, black, grey-headed, and spectacled. The populations of each of these species are in free-fall, making them endangered and even rarer. According to researchers, populations of the spectacled flying fox and the grey-headed flying fox experienced declines of up to 95% in the past hundred years. They have suffered exponential losses in the most recent 30 years.
There is one Australian grey-headed flying fox that is drawing a lot of attention to the plight of its cousins due to is particular rarity and beauty. Tal’ngai Dha’run, a flying fox resident of the Australian Bat Clinic and Wildlife Trauma Centre in Queensland, is internet famous because he has leucism.
Tal’ngai Dha’run is almost entirely white, with some pigmentation on his ears. Leucism is a genetic mutation that results in partial loss of pigment in the skin and hair, but not the eyes. Researchers believe Tal’ngai Dha’run is the only one of his kind, and he is a beautiful poster-child for awareness of the bat plight in Australia and around the world.
Rescuers found Tal’ngai Dha’run in November 2016 as part of a massive rescue of more than 300 bats at Canungra on the Gold Coast. Tal’ngai Dha’run means ‘white wing’ in the local Yugambeh indigenous dialect. He was suffering from sunburn when rescued because his leucism means he does not have the pigmentation that would otherwise protect him. Because of his rare condition, Tal’ngai Dha’run stayed in captivity after the other rescues were released and became a spokesmodel for bats and the dangers they face.
One of the biggest threats to Australian bats these days is the occurrence of heat waves. Sadly a two-day heat wave in Australia in November 2018 decimated the country’s spectacled bat population. When temperatures rose to 42 degrees Celsius or about 108 degrees Fahrenheit, the bats were dying en masse. Researchers from Western Sydney University tallied more than 23,000 spectacled flying fox bats dead in the two days of the heat wave.
According to government statistics, Australia had approximately 75,000 spectacled flying foxes before the heat wave. Officials consider the spectacled bat to be a “canary in the coal mine,” or a harbinger of future threats to bats due to extreme heat. As the bat populations continue to decline, they become more rare and endangered.
Bats are threatened around the world. Here in our home area, white-nose disease has devastated thousands of bats. In the UK, a rare indigenous mammal known as the grey long-eared bat is in imminent danger of extinction. Researchers from the University of Bristol estimate that fewer than 1,000 grey long-eared bats remain in the wild, all confined to southern England.
Although bats are endangered and in need of rescue, only trained professionals should have contact with bats. They can carry infectious diseases that can make humans quite sick. In the case of the Australian Bat lyssavirus (ABLV), it can be fatal.
In the US, our advice is the same: contact Central Plains Bat Removal and let the professionals handle these animals. You will be doing your part in helping them by giving us a call. Together we can maintain the bat populations and keep them as a vital part of our ecosystems without causing them harm.
If you come across bats in your home or business, give us a call at Central Plains Bat Removal. We will help identify the bats and create a plan to relocate them safely and keep them out of your structure. We’re here to assist with all of your bat removal needs. Whether the bat is rare, or a frequent visitor to your home, we can help.
We have more than a decade of experience working with bats in the area. Our team is highly trained and professional. You can count on us to remove your bats with care and efficiency. Give us a call at (605) 351-5718 today.
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