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Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 11:25 EDT

Ghost Bat

The Ghost Bat (Macroderma gigas), also known as the Australia False Vampire Bat, is a species of bat endemic to Australia. It is named for the extremely thin membrane of its wings that makes it appear ghostly at night. They inhabit northern Australia, from the east to west coast. They roost in caves, mines, and tunnels in small colonies, usually of less than a hundred bats.

Ghost Bats have grey fur on their backs and pale grey or white fur on their undersides. They have long, narrow wings but no tail, averaging 4.33 inches in length. Females are generally smaller than males. The Ghost Bat is the only carnivorous bat in Australia and is also the largest microbat in the world. It is largely insectivorous but will also consume frogs, lizards, and other small animals, including other bats. It hunts by sight as well as with echolocation. After killing its prey with its powerful bite, it carries it to a feeding perch to eat.

There are about 4000 to 6000 Ghost Bats in the wild. Females give birth to one young in September or November once every year. Ghost bats are considered to be vulnerable due to habitat loss from cave mining, agriculture and even cave tourism. Efforts are in place to assign national parks for bats and a cloning program is also underway to bring back the species to a healthy number.

Ghost Bat