SPECIES: Miniopterus orianae bassanii — Southern Bent-wing Bat
CLASSIFICATION: Critically endangered
The Southern Bent-wing Bat navigates using echolocation - the emission of ultrasonic sounds. They fly fast, usually across open spaces - for obvious reasons. Where there are trees, bats will fly just above the canopy. The cave-dwelling, insect-eating Southern Bent-wing Bag is found in the south-east of SA and in western Vic.
With a lifespan of up to 20 years, there are now thought to be only 40,000 left in existence and their population has been on the decline since the 1950's. With its fluffy body, pointy ears and snubby nose, the Southern Bent-wing Bat is characterised by wings which are about two and a half times the length of its head and body. When winter comes and food is somewhat scarce, the Southern Bent-wing Bat goes into a state of deep hibernation, it's body temperatiure can drop down to just two degrees. Threats to the species include loss or damage of habitat, drought and predation by owls, rats, foxes and feral cats. It is a little awkward to look at, but what species deserves a listing of critically endangered?
Photo credit: By Steve Bourne - Email from the photographer, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57719957