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research item.jpg (6723 bytes) Batbox? -
Gould's wattled bat

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The photo below was taken by looking up into the middle compartment of the batbox illustrated.  The bats were clinging to the very top of the box.  The bats are Gould's wattled bats and the box was located in Melaleuca Parklands at Lota, a coastal suburb of Brisbane.

The photo was taken by Robert Ashdown and the box was built by Andrew Dinwoodie as part of a joint project of the Bayside Branch of the Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland and the Melaleuca Park Bushcare Group.

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The internal dimensions of the box were 360mm high (vertical dimension) and 220mm wide.   The centre compartment contained a 30mm gap and the front compartment had a 36mm gap.  The cloth in the rear compartment had pulled away from the sides and this compartment contained no bats.  The outer face of the front compartment had been smashed with a brick, but it and the centre compartment contained about 15 bats.

The box was located on a creek line with permanent water, although the water is often obscured by rank grasses.  The immediate vegetation ranges from open to quite dense.  The tree on which the box was mounted is clear for some 10m or more around.

The bats occupied the box within 6 months of installation.  It is possible that their arrival coincided with the clearing of land some little way upstream.

The photos and measurements were taken in April 1999.  By the middle of winter the bats had vacated the box, no doubt because the brick which broke the front face also lifted the lid, creating an up draught.  In anticipation of this another 2 boxes were installed, this time with scoured ply rather than shadecloth.   The new boxes were installed within metres of the old and with a similar aspect.   By mid winter neither showed any evidence of use. 

Update - March 2000
One of the new boxes contained about 15 bats, spread evenly between the 2 compartments.  The big difference between the new one and the old is that no shadecloth was used in the new box, the ply being scoured with a glass-cutter instead.   Clearly this provides a sufficient grip and is likely to last much longer than shadecloth.

Update - June 2001
The Gould's wattled bats had moved to the second new box and the first new box now contained a Large-footed myotis.




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