The ghost bat, with its ghostly coloured fur, pale wings, strange-looking nose and needle-sharp teeth, may look like a spooky vampire but it doesn’t suck blood. It does, however, hunt other animals for their meat, and is Australia’s largest carnivorous bat. The ghost bat has excellent hearing and eyesight and, like other microbats, it uses echolocation to find its food.
WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE? The body is covered in soft, light to dark grey fur, but the belly is a paler, sometimes white, colour. Ghost bats don’t have tails and the wing skin stretches back between the legs. The long ears are joined together in the centre. They have large eyes and a long noseleaf.
SIZE: Adults grow 10–13 centimetres long and only weigh around 165 grams. The wingspan is about a metre wide.
WHAT DO THEY EAT? Ghost bats eat lizards, frogs, sleeping birds, large insects and small mammals including hopping mice, dunnarts and even other bats. When hunting, they often perch about 2 metres above the ground and listen for rustling in the grass below. They swoop out and use their excellent eyesight and echolocation to pinpoint the animal before dropping down and biting it behind its head or neck. The animal is then carried back to the bat’s
perch and devoured.
WHERE DO THEY LIVE? Ghost bats only live in Australia. They can be found in a very broad range of habitats, from lush north Queensland rainforests, up through the forests and woodlands of Cape York Peninsula and around the dry, arid regions of Western Australia. Ghost bats roost in cracks between rocks, caves and old mine shafts in colonies of just a few to more than 400 bats!
BREEDING & CARING FOR YOUNG: About six months after mating, a female ghost bat gives birth to one young, usually around October. As summer heats up, the females move their young to the warmest caves. Young ghost bats can fly at about seven weeks of age. The young bats go out with their mothers to learn hunting skills until they are able to look after themselves.
PREDATORS & THREATS: Snakes, including pythons (such as the spotted python), hunt warmblooded animals like the ghost bat. Owls may also hunt and catch them. Ghost bats are very sensitive to human disturbances to their roosting sites. Many of these sites have been cleared to make way for mines or farms. Feral cats and foxes also compete with the ghost bat for food.
WHAT IS THEIR STATUS? Vulnerable.
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Activities that you can do with GoKids
This is the segment where I would like to encourage parents to work with your children on this project. The exercise is to be hands on with your children, spending some time together and learning all about the Ghost Bat.
All answers can be written out on paper, or you can use the comment section below to type in your answers. When typing in the comment section, please state your first name (ONLY) and your age.
Fellow GoParents, I would love to hear from you. If you would like to include any suggestions, please add your suggestion in the comment section below.
(1) What is the scientific name for Ghost Bat?
(2) Name at least 6 features of this animal?
(3) The ghost bat has excellent hearing: true or false?
(4) What is the meaning of “echolocation” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_echolocation)
(5) Ghost bats don’t have tails, but they have they have large eyes and a long noseleaf. True or false?
(6) Name two predators of Ghost Bats.
(7) How soon can a baby Ghost Bat fly?
(8) Ghost bats only live in Australia: in lush north Queensland rainforests, up through the forests and woodlands of Cape York Peninsula and around the dry, arid regions of Western Australia.
Draw a map of Australia and highlight the area where you would find Ghost Bats.
(9) What do Ghost Bats eat?
(10) Draw a Ghost Bat
(1) What colour is the Ghost Bat?
(2) Draw a Ghost Bat and colour it in. Show the large eyes and a long noseleaf.
(3) The wingspan is about a metre wide. How wide is a meter? Show the width with both your hands (an estimate would be great).
(4) Baby Ghost Bats normally are born during October…can you name the months of the year? What month comes before October? What month comes after October?
(5) What is a carnivore? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carnivore
Ages 2 – 4
Print this colouring page out. Use coloured pencils or child safe crayons.