Taronga Zoo is celebrating its first successful birth of a Ghost Bat pup in 15 years.
Born last month, the pup is the first for Taronga’s new breeding pair, ‘Celeste’ and ‘Nocturne’, and an encouraging sign for the regional breeding program for this vulnerable species.
Despite the challenges of breeding Ghost Bats, keepers are pleased with the progress of the pup, which can already be spotted on display at the Zoo’s Australian Nightlife exhibit.
Keeper, Wendy Gleen, said it may be a little while until keepers can determine the sex of the pup, so they are yet to choose a name.
“The pup has been clinging to its mother for warmth and security, clutching onto her neck with its back legs,” said Wendy.
Ghost Bats are the world’s largest microbat and Australia’s only carnivorous bat, preying on large insects, frogs, birds, lizards and small mammals, including other bats. Their name comes from the beautiful ‘ghost-like’ appearance of their wings in the moonlight.
Populations are under threat in the wild due to the loss of feeding habitat and destruction of caves and old mine shafts.
“Ghost Bats are particularly vulnerable to mining, which can threaten their maternity caves,” said Wendy.
Wendy said the birth of the pup provided a great opportunity for visitors to see these stunning but elusive creatures up close.
“Ghost Bats are difficult to spot in the wild, as they often live in complete darkness and hide in remote caves. They’ve got the most amazing facial structures and use echolocation to find their way in the dark. Our modern sonar systems could probably learn a thing or two from these bats’ natural talents,” she said.
Keen-eyed visitors may be able to spot the pup in its home at the very end of the walkthrough at Taronga’s Australian Nightlife exhibit.