Hamilton city is one of the only cities in New Zealand to still support a resident population of long-tailed bats.
The long-tailed bat is unique to New Zealand, and is one of our only two remaining species of native terrestrial mammals. These bats can be found throughout New Zealand in varying habitats, but its numbers are declining due to the removal of trees (where bats roost), predation by pest mammals, and increasing competition for roost sites from rats and possums.
Long-tailed bats are capable of long distance flight. These bats may have large home ranges and regularly move between forest fragments to feed and roost. There are a few confirmed bat roosting sites in the southern part of the city, but bats are likely to be more widely distributed throughout the city than previously thought.
|Long-tailed bat. Image courtesy of Gerard Kelly.|
Because bats rest during the day, they are often unseen by humans. Bat detectors can be used to monitor bat sounds that can’t be heard by the human ear.
Bat detectors can be borrowed by members of the public free of charge to detect bats on their properties. Call Hamilton Gardens on 07 838 6782 for more information.
Below are two audio files of the sounds of the bat detectors in action when a bat is nearby. The waveform graphs below them show what the sounds 'look like' in our equipment.
Bat detector soundclip 1 (single long-tailed bat search phase ecolocation pulse at 40Khz)
Bat detector soundclip 2 (multiple long tailed bats flying and ecolocating together)
|Crown Copyright: Department of Conservation Te Papa Atawhai (August 1973), Photographer: J. L. Kendrick|
You can help by protecting standing dead trees and old-age trees with cavities, which are the natural habitat of long-tailed bats. Dead trees and old trees with hollows and cavities are still valuable for wildlife!
You could also consider planting large trees for future bat generations.
Bats move to a new roost tree regularly so are not always present at a site. If you think bats might be present on your property, or you’re about to remove a large or dead tree contact Waikato Regional Council.
If you think there may be bats living on your property or in a nearby park you can borrow a bat detector and check it out for yourself. Contact us for more information.
If you have seen a long-tailed bat in Hamilton (or detected one with a bat detector) we’d love to hear from you. Complete a bat sighting form so we can keep track of bat distribution across the city.
View a map of Hamilton bat sightings here.
Project Echo aims to gather information on bat distribution throughout Hamilton city. This project could lead to on-going work to protect bat roosting trees and provide predator control.
Waikato Regional Council, Hamilton City Council and the Riverlea Environment Society Inc. (external link) (RESI) are the project partners. A number of other organistions also get involved in different aspects of the project.
Find out more about the project in this video clip:
You can download these publications containing facts and tips about bats and Project Echo: