Article by Clancy Hall, conservation biologist
The most deliciously named bat in Australia
It may be a stretch to say a bat’s name is delicious, but the chocolate wattled bat looks as beautiful as it sounds. Its large domed head and silken confectionery coloured fur give this little bat a truly affable appearance. It also has an equally charming scientific name Chalinolobus morio, which roughly translates to ‘the bridled son of night’.
Chocolate wattled bats occupy a diverse range of habitats and roosts, from Sunshine Coast tree hollows to the inner-city attics of Melbourne and even caves of the Nullarbor Plain. The species adaptable nature is also reflected in their varied diet of moths, beetles, wasps and termites. One trait chocolate wattled bats all have in common, however, is that they prefer to dine in a small area, close to home.
Although large mixed colonies have been found, males and females usually roost separately. Females will gather together, especially during the spring birthing season whereas males prefer to roost alone.
Many chocolate wattled bats rely on the hollows provided by large, old trees. You can help this species by preserving old trees in your backyard. If possible, consider the selective pruning of old trees rather than their complete removal.