A small bat causes some big concerns
WHILE there has been recent controversy over government policy for the handling of problem flying foxes, Ipswich residents have been urged to look out for a much smaller form of winged mammal.
The city's microbat populations are reportedly in a feeding frenzy at the moment, as they fatten up on enough insects to see them through what could be a long, chilly winter hibernation period.
Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife CEO Susanna Bradshaw said autumn was the perfect time to gently evict unwelcome microbats that had taken up residence in a house.
The Foundation has launched a Backyard Buddies program to help people better understand native animals that exist in their area.
"Microbats are much more common than you may think," Ms Bradshaw said.
"Right now, bats are eating as much as 40% of their own body weight in a single night, or several hundred insects per hour."
Many microbat species live during the daylight hours inside the hollows of trees or branches.
Competition from birds, possums and gliders, along with tree clearing, has resulted in microbats seeking out the roof or walls of homes for the perfect roosting place.
If the tiny bats cannot find a suitable hollow, they can slip into gaps as small as 5mm and snuggle down in your roof and walls.
Babies are born in spring and remain with their mothers until January, meaning that moving bats out of a roost after February and before June ensures the young are independent.
"Ipswich microbats are fully protected which might raise the issue of offences and penalties if any are in fact harmed," Ms Bradshaw said.
"If you want microbats out of your walls, first provide an alternative roost site outside such as a nest box.
"Then, if done correctly, your walls can become bat free and the little bats will happily stick around your backyard to go about their insect eating work, which is of great benefit to all of us."
For details on how to safely remove microbats, visit http://www.batrescue.org.au.