Ghost Bat

ghost_batScientific Name: Macroderma gigas
Conservation Status: Vulnerable
Body Length: 10–13 cm
Weight: 75–145 g
Gestation: 2.5–3 months
Number of young: 1

Distribution: Northern Australia
Habitat: Cave systems and mineshafts in arid and rainforest areas.

Description: The Ghost Bat has a light grey, almost white, colouring and large long ears. The Ghost Bat’s wing span is up to 60 cm wide.

Diet: It is Australia’s only carnivorous bat and eats large insects, reptiles, frogs, birds, small mammals and, sometimes, other bat species. Much of this prey is captured on the ground.

In the wild: Mothers form nursery colonies separate from males until the young are able to hunt. Juveniles then hunt with their mothers until they become completely independent.

Threats: Populations are under threat due to changes in habitat and destruction of caves and mine shafts that the bats live in. Groups of over 400 are common and populations would decrease if their homes were destroyed.

At Perth Zoo: Perth Zoo received its first Ghost Bat colony in 1977. Their descendants are located in the Nocturnal House in several exhibits including one which is a replica of an Australian mine shaft.

Join the Perth Zoo-coordinated Night Stalk from 1 September to 16 October and spotlight for native animals in your local bushland. Night Stalk is a great way to become involved in community conservation action and to learn about our native animals, their habitat and their threats. Night Stalk is sponsored by Tronox.

Did you know? Ghost Bats use echolocation to find their food. Echolocation is a sensory system where the bats emit a high-pitched sound and listen to the echo to determine how far and in what direction objects are.

Download the Ghost Bat Fact Sheet (pdf).

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