White-striped Free-tailed Bat (Austronomus australis) is the largest microbat found in Perth. You can often hear their distinctive 'tick, tick, tick' call as they search for their prey around home gardens.
Will they visit?: White-striped Free-tailed Bat are more common in areas with good canopy and will visit home gardens.
Natural Distribution: Widespread throughout the South West and the Perth region.
Austronomus australis – Michael Pennay (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
Habitat at a Glance
See Habitat Guide for more detail
Shelter: Large trees with hollows or constructed bat boxes
Diet: Insects and other invertebrates
Water: Not needed
ReWild Benefit: Control mosquito and pest populations
Habitat Guide - Shelter
Their ideal shelter are large trees with natural hollows and crevices. Females will form colonies of around 20 adults while males live solitary in tree hollows or man-made shelters. Rarely, up to several hundred bats can live together in a colony. During winter they will hibernate for several months at a time.
Below is a habitat box template for Micro-bats. Ideally, install the box on a mature tree close to the main trunk or a thick horizontal limb. Speak with the local government or local Landcare before installing or maintaining a bat box. Before you build:
Never handle a bat, they can carry the potentially fatal Australian Bat Lyssavirus.
Nest-boxes are a long-term commitment and need maintenance and repair over time.
Chipboard is okay, but degrade after a year of use. Untreated hardier woods (i.e. Jarrah) are less prone to attack by fungi, bacteria, and microorganisms.
Keep away from treated timber as this can emit fumes toxic to wildlife and their young.
Avoid using metal wire inside a box. A wooden ladder on the inside of the nest-box is much more suitable or grooved timber will work well.
Maintenance is key to keeping wildlife safe. Last thing you want is a side panel falling off with an animal or its young still living inside.
Habitat Guide - Food and Water
Providing natural sources of food
A garden with native shrubs and trees will attract their favourite food – insects! See related resources for a list of potential plants to grow in the garden. A frog pond and good layer of mulch will entice more insects around the garden and provide a banquet for a hungry Micro-bat.
Providing sources of water
Bats do not need additional water sources such as bird baths, gaining most of their water needs from their diet.
Micro-bats are voracious predators of insects and control pests (such as annoying midgies and mozzies), benefiting our neighbourhoods as we work to drive a healthy environment for our community. If you see a bat foraging in your garden, you can record your sighting on Atlas of Living Australia!