Going batty

Volunteers meet on the reserve early morning to check the survey traps.

WITH three different types of bats recorded and a variety of native fauna detected, last weekend’s wildlife survey on Mount Leura has been hailed a “huge success”.

Friends of Mount Leura member Fran Grundy said 40 Elliott traps and two harp traps were installed on the reserve Thursday and checked for the contact on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Friday saw one little forest bat recorded.

Saturday saw a little forest bat, southern forest bat and a chocolate wattled bat recorded, while Sunday produced four large forest bats.

“The results were very informative,” Ms Grundy said.

“Each of the bats were thoroughly checked for their level of health with their weight and sizes recorded along with more specific information relating to their head sizes and genitalia formation, which is different for each species of bat.

“It’s invaluable information and gives a better indication as to the fauna present on the reserve.”

Three different species of bat were recorded on Mount Leura during a three day survey last weekend, including the pictured chocolate wattled bat, which features a distinctive ear structure.

However, Ms Grundy said findings in the Elliott traps, which are designed to trap small mammals and marsupials, were disappointing.

“The 40 traps were dispersed in four separate locations and the only thing we caught was a house mouse,” she said.

“We’re unsure of the reasoning behind this – it could be the result of a long hot summer, predation from foxes, cats and birds of prey, or it could mean the lower storey vegetation is not suitable for them.”

Past Elliott trappings have produced native bush rats and native swamp rats, as well as house mice and feral black rats.

The weekend survey was carried out in conjunction with the Geelong Field Naturalists Club under the leadership of small mammal expert Dr Trevor Prescott.

Dr Prescott also identified two southern water skinks, a pale flecked garden skink, swamp wallaby and a red and black jewel beetle on the reserve, as well as an unidentified moth.

Ms Grundy said about 35 locals took part in the survey.

One of two southern water skinks spotted during last weekend’s fauna survey on Mount Leura.

“The surveys are a great way to build public awareness about what fauna is living on the reserve, so it was great to have so many people take part,” she said.

“It’s also affirmation of the revegetation project on the reserve and the health of the ecology.

“Bats are known to be good indicators of a healthy environment – if there are trees in flower they attract insects, which in turn attract bats.”

Friends of Mount Leura members met on Tuesday this week to upload the survey findings and photos on the Atlas of Living Australia, which is accessible for anyone to view.

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