Bat species

The Order of bats, called Chiroptera by scientists, is the most diverse group of mammals in the world second only to the Order Rodentia (rodents). There are over 1100 species of bats, which occur in all parts of the world except for the most extreme desert and polar regions. 

There are 75 bat species known in Southern Africa, of which 56 species occur in South Africa. Of the 56 species, 39 are found in the northern part of South Africa, which comprises Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and part of Northwest Province. The Chiroptera is subdivided into the larger fruit-eating bats that belong to the Suborder Megachiroptera and the smaller predominantly insect-eating Suborder Microchiroptera.


Figure 1: The general anatomy of a bat. Image from Taylor (2000).


Figure 2: The body parts that may be measured by scientists when identifying bats. Image from Taylor (2000).

South African bats may live in a variety of different places and the choice of roost usually differs with the species. These different roosts can include caves, cracks and crevices in rocks, under loose bark, under overhanging leaves, inside road culverts or hollow tree trunks (especially baobab trees), aardvark burrows, in basements and as many people already know, inside roofs. Only bats associated with human structures or gardens are discussed here. Almost all our insect-eating bats forage at night and seem to be opportunistic in their choice of food, limited only by the size and/or hardness of the bug.

Bat Species

Gauteng

North West

Limpopo

Western cape

Yellow house bat

 

Cape serotine bat

Mauritian tomb bat

 

Little free-tailed bat

 

Angolan free-tailed bat

 

Egyptian free-tailed bat

Common slit-faced bat

Geoffroy’s horseshoe bat

 

Wahlberg’s epauletted fruit bat

 

Gambian epauletted fruit bat

 

 

 

Long-tailed greater serotine

 

 

Lesueur’s wing gland bat

 

 

 

Angolan wing gland bat

 

 

 

Kuhl’s pipistrelle bat

 

Banana bat

 

 

 

Hildebrandt’s horseshoe bat

 

 

 

Sundevall’s leaf-nosed bat

 

 

The most common South African bat species usually associated with human residences and manmade structures, with less common species shaded red.
Author of About bats: Werner C. Marais (2009)

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Karen Stander
Our box have a spotted eagle owl! We stay on a smallholding in the Chancliff area, Krugersdorp and discovered that our recently serviced owl box, has a long awaited inhabitant! So glad and thankful to have the privilege of sharing our piece of nature with hopefully a breading pair soon! Have to tell you the bats are also happily occupying their box!

Cheryl Siewierski
Brilliant service from hugely knowledgeable installers at our home in Harties this morning. We are thrilled with our new bat and owl boxes and sure the residents of these will be too! Excellent to know that EcoSolutions also monitors numbers and patterns of the owls in perpetuity. Thank you!

Beryl Scott-Payet
Fantastic, thanks to all at Eco Solutions for your support and help with Strix (our injured owl) and the installations of the boxes and houses at Steyn City.

 

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