#CreatureFeature – Tadarida australis (White-striped Free-tailed Bat)

The White-striped Free-tailed Bat is the largest of Australia’s free-tailed bats and as the name suggests, has a white stripe along the side of the belly and onto the wings.

These bats have a brown to black upper surface, turning slightly paler below. They are known as free-tailed bars because part of their bony tail extends beyond the tail membrane.

These bats are found across all southern Australia except for Tasmania and are very adaptable animals. They have been found in forests, woodlands, grasslands, shrublands and even in urban areas. White-striped Free-tailed bats roost in hollows of old tress and under loose bark or in the ceilings of buildings. The bats will generally roost together and can travel in colonies of several hundred.

High-flying moths are a favourite snack of this species and their long, narrow wings are well suited for fast and high flight to catch such snacks. These bats can travel up to 50 kilometres from their roost in search of food and have also been observed scurrying around on the ground in search of insects such as beetles, bugs, grasshoppers and ants.

In late August, bats will begin breeding so that the females are pregnant in spring and are giving birth to their one offspring in mid-December to late-January. White-striped Free-tailed bats have an asymmetrical uterus, with just one horn, meaning they can only produce one young at a time.

Land clearing and removal of roost sites in urban areas can wipe out a whole population. Other wildlife and predators can also be destructive to the habitats of these bats, damaging nest hollows. This bat is one of the few microbats with echolocation calls that can be heard by humans.


Jarna Kendle – Bushcare Officer

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