Did you know that Bangu (Bats) are the second biggest group of mammals in the world? Scientists are still finding new species of little Microbats today. As a First Nations Yuin woman, these little Bangu teach me important lessons about listening to Country so that you can find your way. They remind me that no matter how small you may be, we all have a voice that gives us strength.

Let’s meet some of our insectivorous (insect-eating) Microbats!

Long-eared Bats

Long-eared Bangu are very common around Sydney – most nights they are likely flying around above your head without you even knowing! Long-eared Bangu usually roost under tree bark and in tree hollows, but they have become very good at finding similar places in human buildings. They are often found living in the crevices, ceilings and walls of our homes!

Long-eared Bat
Long-eared Bat. Image: George Madani
© George Madani

Little Forest Bat

Little Forest Bangu are our smallest Bats – they weigh 3-6 grams and measure only 4 centimetres from head to tail. Being small doesn’t stop these little Bangu, though. Little Forest Bangu are expert acrobats who catch flying insects straight out of the sky!

Little Forest Bat
Little Forest Bat. Image: George Madani
© George Madani

White-striped Freetail Bat

White-striped Freetails are one of our biggest Microbats – they weigh about 40 grams and measure 8 centimetres from head to tail. Freetail Bangu get their name from their tails that poke out behind them like a dog’s tail. This is different to most other kinds of Microbat – who have their tails inside a thin skin called ‘membrane’.

White-striped Freetail Bat
White-striped Freetail Bat, Austronomus australis. Image: George Madani
© George Madani

Eastern Horseshoe Bat

Horseshoe Bangu get their name from their strange little faces shaped like a horseshoe. The shape of their face and ears helps Horseshoe Bangu to find their way in the dark caves where they live. Like all Microbats, Horseshoe Bangu use sound and echoes (echo-location) to find their way. Caves are very dark and make lots of echoes, so the Horseshoe Bangu needs extra special tools to navigate.

Bangu are really interesting animals! To find out more about Bangu click here.

Horseshoe bat
Horseshoe bat. Image: Steve Parish
© Steve Parish

Editorial note: Some animal names have been capitalised to give agency to Country by First Nations writers. Find out more about why we capitalise English language in reading Who is Country.

About the author

Sara Kianga Judge is a neurodiverse Walbunja-Yuin woman who grew up on Burramattagal Country. She is an environmental scientist, geographer and artist passionate about accessible science communication and helping people to grow meaningful relationships with Country.