Large-footed myotis, known as Australia's fishing bat, use their long toes and claws to trawl the surface of creeks and ponds for food.
Article by Clancy Hall, conservation biologist
True to its name, the large-footed myotis (Myotis macropus) has disproportionately large feet for a microbat. If you are wondering why, it has to do with their somewhat novel foraging techniques. Large-footed myotis use their long toes and claws to trawl the surface of creeks and ponds for food. Unlike any other species of Australian bat, this has allowed them to exploit not only aquatic insects like water boatman and back-swimmers but small fish as well!
Large-footed myotis occupy the coastal regions and waterways of northern and eastern Australia. They roost in a diverse range of places from natural caves, tree hollows and clumps of vegetation, to human built structures like stormwater drains, mines or under bridges. One consistent feature, however, is that these roosts are never far from a permanent water source.
Species that display specialised behaviours like the large-footed myotis can be more sensitive to changes in their environment. The degradation of waterways due to pollution, disturbance or high levels of sediment, will in turn negatively affect this unique local bat. Other threats include the removal of reliable roosts such as old bridges, mines or hollow-bearing trees.
You can help this fascinating local species and others, by reducing or removing waste that may enter your local waterway and by considering hollow dependent wildlife before removing or trimming old hollow-bearing trees.
If you want to view some of these wonderful bats up close, take a torch and look at the ceiling when walking through the tunnel track at Dularcha national park. Find out more details of the track on the Adventure Sunshine Coast website.