Thursday, May 22, 2014

Environmentality 21 May 2014, Robert Bender, Bat Enthusiast

Have you even seen anything so cute as this grey headed flying fox?
Grey Headed Flying Fox

Well maybe you have.  These beautiful flying foxes are native to Australia and fly across the skies of Melbourne every dawn and dusk.  

According to the Department Environment and Primary Industries, the flying fox colony at Yarra Bend in Melbourne has up to 30,000 residents over the summer period.  This does fall over the winter, however with the resurgence in planting of native trees and shrubs over the years our flying foxes don't need to go as far for food as they used to.

As Robert was informing us on the show our native fruit bats (all Australia's bats are native) play a huge part in the health and pollination of our native plants.  Fruit bats are prolific feeders and therefore are great pollinators and because they fly great distances the seeds in their droppings are dispersed and germinate creating more native bush.  

© Gould's Wattled Bat - The State of Victoria,
Department of Environment and Primary Industries/McCann
Our passionate guest, Robert Bender has been studying bats for 20 years.  His particular interest is not our fruit eating flying fox species of bat but the insect eating Gould's wattled bats. Gould's (named after English naturalist John Gould) are tiny bats normally as big as your thumb and weighing between 7 and 16 grams.  

Make sure you listen to the show to hear what Robert has to say.

The Australasian Bat Society has a fantastic website with more information than you could imagine on bats. There are lots of PDF downloads great for school assignments or to raise awareness of these magical mammals.

If you are lucky enough to have microbats roosting under your house or in your eaves, remember they are eating all those nasty mozzies and making your life much more pleasant.  And if you don't have any microbats under your house you can get a bat box and do your bit for these tiny creatures.

Music played today:

Coleman Hawkins - Sugar Foot Stomp
Asa - Jailer
Turlough O'Carolan - Carolan's Farewell
Coleman Hawkins - Watermelon Man

Next week on the show we have Jodi Jackson, My Everyday Garden

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