New Zealand long-tailed bats (pekapeka tou roa; Chalinolobus tuberculatus) are found in the Waitākere Ranges and as close as Henderson, but we’re not sure if bats can still be found in Auckland’s inner west.
We’d love to hear from you if think you’ve seen or heard them. Bats feed on moths, midges, and flying insects at dawn and dusk and help with pollination of native species. In fact, bats are a great indicator species as they are sensitive to all sorts of threats:
- Mammalian predators Reducing the number of rats, stoats and possums really makes life easier for bats. Feral cats are also an issue, and even domestic cats are best kept in from dusk until dawn.
- Forest fragmentation Bats need forested corridors along which to travel. These should be planned into urban designs.
- Loss of habitat Bats nest in holes in old trees and like species with loose bark. To encourage bats we need to hang onto old trees, even exotics like gums, willows, macrocarpa and pines.
As the weather starts to warm up in November and December we’ll be out with bat detectors trying to track some down. The plan is to head out at dusk on warm evenings following streams and forest margins, focusing on areas where there are mature trees (good for roosts) and fresh water. Investigations in previous years haven’t turned up any pekapeka in Auckland’s inner west, so we may just be going on a few pleasant evening walks. But we’re ever hopeful!
Let us know if you’re interested in joining any of the following. Click on the link for details.
Chamberlain Park Fringe – Thursday 19 November (7.30pm to 9pm) with Ben Paris
Western Springs Lakeside Park and Stadium– Thursday 3 December (8.15–9.30pm)
Jagger’s Bush / Seddon Fields / Meola Creek – Monday 7 December (8.15–9.30pm)
Oakley Creek Te Auauanga (south)– Thursday 10 December (8.15–9.30pm)
Oakley Creek (north end) – Monday 14 December (8.15–9.30pm)
- Auckland Council produce and informative Long-Tailed Bat fact sheet (PDF, 3.45 MB).
- Community Waitākere have a lovely bat poster.
- Kids Greening Taupo have an excellent bat webpage for our younger pekapeka fans.
- Friend of Urban Ark and Senior Conservation Advisor at Auckland Council, Ben Paris, is NZ batman. Follow him on Facebook.