Little Forest Bat

Vespadelus vulturnus

mammal mammal

Little Forest Bat
Image: Lindy Lumsden
Source: Lindy Lumsden

Type: mammal

Little Forest Bat Little Forest Bat
Image: Lindy Lumsden
Source: Lindy Lumsden

Victorian Conservation Status

Secure Vulnerable Endangered Extinct  ]

Little Forest Bats are still common over much of their range, but all microbats are vulnerable to certain changes in their environment. Because tree hollows are critical to these bats for breeding and roosting, they have declined in areas that have been logged or cleared for agriculture. Competition with the introduced Indian Myna bird for tree hollows increases the problem.

WHAT THEY EAT

carnivore

<p>Little Forest Bats are carnivores.</p><p> They hunt flying insects.</p>

HOW BIG THEY ARE

Little Forest Bat relative size depiction as described below

Size relative to a sparrow.

Weight:
3.5–6 g
Length:
body 3.4–4.8 cm,
tail 2.7–3.5 cm

Amazing Little Forest Bats

Little Forest Bats flutter beneath tree canopies at night in search of flying insects. They are one of Australia’s smallest mammals, with a body no larger than a human thumb, and are found in the forests of south-eastern Australia.

By day, Little Forest Bats roost in colonies of 20–50 animals in tree hollows or roof cavities. They hang upside down from their back legs with their wings folded along their bodies. Their wings are formed from a membrane of skin that stretches over their greatly elongated arm and hand bones.

Bats are placental mammals. Other Australian native placental mammals are rodents, seals, dingos, dolphins and whales; all other native mammals are marsupials. Female Little Forest Bats give birth to a single young in spring or early summer and feed them with milk for 6–7 weeks. Until they can fly, the young remain in the roost.

Microbats emit rapid pulses of ultrasound that are usually too high-pitched for human ears. They can detect prey by the way the sound bounces back to them. Little Forest Bats eat small insects while flying, but may catch larger prey in their wing membranes to be eaten while roosting.

In winter, Little Forest Bats become inactive to save energy. Their temperature can drop to near-freezing and their heart rate slows down. 

Did You Know?

Little Forest Bats

  • are tiny microbats that locate their prey with sound
  • eat only flying insects, which are caught on the wing
  • enter a state of torpor when the temperature is low

WHERE THEY LIVE

Little Forest Bats live in the eucalypt forests of south-eastern Australia, entering nearby farmland and townships at night to hunt.

OTHER ANIMALS

Other animals from the Victorian Dry Forest

Tree GoannaSquirrel GliderRegent Honeyeater