New Animal Sightings
2006 March – New micro bat roosting place found at Walkabout Park
A couple of micro bats have been discovered roosting in the Walkabout Park picnic area. The two are tiny with a body weight of well under 10 grams, making them one of the smallest of the 60 or so species of micro bat in Australia. The various species range in size from 3 grams to 120 grams.
Micro bats must eat an amazing 24% to 40% of their body weight every day because they are so tiny and therefore energy inefficient. They can catch 500 insects per hour!
Because micro bats are so tiny they cannot conserve body heat. These creatures must, therefore, seek out roosting spots where, roosting in colonies, the environment will increase in temperature and humidity through the day. During the day, the micro bats slow their body state right down, lowering body temperature to conserve energy, then raise their temperature again in the early evening ready to fly out to feed as it get dark.
Bat facts: Bats are mammals of the order called Chiroptera or 'hand wing'. There are two suborders. Micro bats or insectivorous bats are the common names for the suborder Microchiroptera. The second suborder is Megachiroptera, commonly known as flying foxes or fruit bats.
Health warning: Never handle bats unless you are trained and equipped to do so. Some colonies of bats have been found to carry lyssavirus which is closely related to the rabies virus. If you come across a bat that needs help, call Wildlife Ark or Wires (on 02-43232326 from Sydney and NSW Central Coast).
Eastern Pygmy Possum found at Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park!
Weighing an average of only 24 grams, and measuring 15 centimetres from head to tail, the rarely seen marsupial was discovered this week by Park Manager Nick Carson.
"I was moving a log as part of some track maintenance, when I saw a tiny fur ball scurry out from underneath," Mr Carson said. "It wasn't until after I picked it up that I realised it was a pygmy possum." The Eastern Pygmy Possum was found to be in very good health, and was quickly returned to its hollow log. "The Eastern Pygmy Possum mainly feeds on nectar, and we currently have plenty of Banksia and Mountain Devil plants in bloom," Mr Carson said, "so I'm sure he is very happy here."
"Many of Australia's small marsupials, such as the pygmy possum, are under threat from introduced predators such as cats and foxes. Fortunately, Australia Walkabout Wildlife Park is surrounded by a fox proof fence, ensuring the Park's population of animals such as the Pygmy Possum, Parma Wallaby and Red-necked Pademelon are safe from predation," explained Mr. Carson.
The Eastern Pygmy Possum is part of the Burramyidae family, which contains the smallest of possums. Although they are thought to be common, these nocturnal animals are rarely seen due to their size, and timid nature. These possums are agile climbers, using their tails and feet to grasp.
Nick Carson explained that, "breeding mostly occurs from late spring to early autumn, so we are excited by the thought that we have and will continue to have emerging young at the park."