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Facts about the long-tailed bat

Long tailed bat, hand held showing detail of head and wing. Photo: Dick Veitch.
Long tailed bat, hand held showing
detail of head and wing

The long-tailed bat (Chalinolobus tuberculatus) belongs to a more widespread family and is closely related to five other species of wattled or lobe-lipped bats in Australia and elsewhere. It is the more 'common' bat and is widely distributed throughout the mainland, Stewart Island, Little Barrier and Great Barrier islands and Kapiti Island.

  • Long-tailed bats are smaller than the short-tailed bat, chestnut brown in colour, have small ears and weigh 8-11 grams. They are believed to produce only one offspring each year.
  • The bat's echo-location calls include a relatively low frequency component which can be heard by some people.
  • It can fly at 60 kilometres per hour and has a very large home range (100 km2).
  • An aerial insectivore, it feeds on small moths, midges, mosquitoes and beetles.

Canterbury long-tailed bat

South Canterbury supports the only known long-tailed bat population on the East Coast of the South Island. Bats are limited to a small area from Peel Forest in the north, southwards through the foothill gorges of the Orari, Waihi, and Te Moana Rivers, Geraldine, and the Kakahu and Opihi Rivers. On the willow-lined Opihi, bats have been reported regularly from Arowhenua and inland to the gullies of The Brothers and to the Opuha Gorge. The core of the population is centred on forest remnants and limestone areas around Hanging Rock.

Geraldine is one of the few towns in New Zealand where it is possible to see long-tailed bats. They flit like large butterflies at dusk as they emerge from giant totara and matai in Talbot Forest.

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