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foz
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  #1
Bats in the UK
Old 25-02-2011

what bat species are currently lying about in the UK?
It seems quite lmited considering the vast wonderul spciees. However we do have little red fruit bats (very cool) but are they breeding? is there any chance to develop this species in the Uk?

How do others feel about the status of bats in the UK and what would you like to see?

Thanks in advance
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  #2
Old 25-02-2011

Quote:
Originally Posted by foz View Post
what bat species are currently lying about in the UK?
It seems quite lmited considering the vast wonderul spciees. However we do have little red fruit bats (very cool) but are they breeding? is there any chance to develop this species in the Uk?

How do others feel about the status of bats in the UK and what would you like to see?

Thanks in advance
Zootierliste is your friend here to find out what species, there are quite a few so I won't list them here

As for what I'd like to see, my two favourite species from pictures:

" title="Spectacled Flying Fox - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia" target="_blank">Spectacled Flying Fox - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Spectacled Flying Fox - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Spectacled Flying Fox - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

and Giant Golden-crowned Flying Fox - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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  #3
Old 25-02-2011

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Originally Posted by Javan Rhino View Post
Zootierliste is your friend here to find out what species, there are quite a few so I won't list them here

As for what I'd like to see, my two favourite species from pictures:

Spectacled Flying Fox - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

and Giant Golden-crowned Flying Fox - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I have been using zootierliste and this is what's brought about my frustration, but the limitation in bat species seems to be for the entirity of europe for example there seems to only be 8 'true' bat species
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  #4
Old 25-02-2011

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I have been using zootierliste and this is what's brought about my frustration, but the limitation in bat species seems to be for the entirity of europe for example there seems to only be 8 'true' bat species
Yup, I would imagine it just boils down to what's available now in a world where you can't just go out and wild-catch a species without good reason other than to exhibit it. Unfortunately for us zoonerds, this means that there are only a handful of species for us to see.
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  #5
Old 25-02-2011

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Originally Posted by Javan Rhino View Post
Yup, I would imagine it just boils down to what's available now in a world where you can't just go out and wild-catch a species without good reason other than to exhibit it. Unfortunately for us zoonerds, this means that there are only a handful of species for us to see.
Naturally its always gonna be limited to some extent but RRSC managed to wrangle a species not seen here for a longtime (?) (before?), it would seem that zoos could do more to try and introduce some bat diversity to zoos
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  #6
Old 25-02-2011

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How do others feel about the status of bats in the UK and what would you like to see?

Thanks in advance
Think is possibly one of the biggest problems, do the public want to see more bats? At Chester for instance they have sebas, rods and livingstons so youve got little bats, bigger bats and big bats and to the public thats perfect, a range of sizes. Coupled with the fact most exhibits are dark or nocturnal its pretty difficult to see individuals well.
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  #7
Old 25-02-2011

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Originally Posted by Rothschildi View Post
Think is possibly one of the biggest problems, do the public want to see more bats? At Chester for instance they have sebas, rods and livingstons so youve got little bats, bigger bats and big bats and to the public thats perfect, a range of sizes. Coupled with the fact most exhibits are dark or nocturnal its pretty difficult to see individuals well.
I think it depends on how they are exhibited. large walkthroughs like Chester offer a chance to exhibit many varieties of bat. But zoos should want to increase the diveersity for the sake of diveersity as opposed to appeeasing the visitors, for exmaple epeuletted bats could replace some of the more common species seen without the general visitor noticing.

If a zoo is willing to spend, time, energy and money the potential to display a fantastic array of bat species is huge!
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  #8
Old 25-02-2011

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But zoos should want to increase the diveersity for the sake of diveersity as opposed to appeeasing the visitors, for exmaple epeuletted bats could replace some of the more common species seen without the general visitor noticing.
Should they? I've just done a search and didn't find any species of epauletted bat that was more threatened than least concern (maybe some of the DD ones or NE, I don't know how threatened they are). However, in my experience one of the most common species is rodrigues flying fox, a critically endangered species. So, should zoos work together to exhibit and breed a great many least concern species for diversity's sake, or a small collection of endangered/critically endangered species for conservation's sake?
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  #9
Old 25-02-2011

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If a zoo is willing to spend, time, energy and money the potential to display a fantastic array of bat species is huge!
And therein lies the problem, you just said a zoo could spend time, energy and money to change something the general visitor wouldnt notice. I imagine if funds were unlimited then zoo's would do such things but at the moment larger more charismatic species get the funding.
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  #10
Old 25-02-2011

As well as those species listed on Zootierliste as being present in UK collections. P.vampyrus is also present in private hands.
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  #11
Old 25-02-2011

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Originally Posted by Javan Rhino View Post
Should they? I've just done a search and didn't find any species of epauletted bat that was more threatened than least concern (maybe some of the DD ones or NE, I don't know how threatened they are). However, in my experience one of the most common species is rodrigues flying fox, a critically endangered species. So, should zoos work together to exhibit and breed a great many least concern species for diversity's sake, or a small collection of endangered/critically endangered species for conservation's sake?
Good point. I think there must be balance between diversity and prioritising conservation efforts, currently i feel this balance is to much the one way.

@Rothschildi I beleive there is a niche for a great bat exhibit that isnt currently found in the UK (chester's is the closest contender) making bats charismatic
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  #12
Old 25-02-2011

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Originally Posted by foz View Post
How do others feel about the status of bats in the UK and what would you like to see?
I personally think that although there is a reasonable collection of bat species in zoos in the UK (eight species according to zootierliste), there could be more diversity among the species. Apart from the Seba's bats and Egyptian fruit bats, all are larger flying-fox type bats which are just a small part of worldwide bat diversity. There are many other small bats that wouldn't be very hard to care for and some of them are among the most charismatic of the bats. If I could personally choose three bat species to come into a UK zoo, then I would probably pick:

Common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus)- Probably one of the best known bat species along with general 'fruit bats', have a method of locomotion unusual among bats (crawling and hopping on the floor), the main problem with keeping them would probably be supplying a group enough fresh blood to feed on
South American false vampire bat (Vampyrum spectrum)- The largest bat in the Americas, the diet is probably easier to cater for (it feeds off small animals like mice and birds), it is a threatened species in the wild, the main problem would be sourcing individuals- I am unaware of any in captivity at the moment
Honduran white bat (Ectophylla alba)- One of the often-documented 'tent bats', has more unusual colouration and can appear to be cute, it feeds off a diet of fruit and so could be easier to look after, it is currently threatened, as with the false vampire, sourcing individuals would be the hardest part
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  #13
Old 25-02-2011

This place, in Florida, has a wonderful collection - Lubee Bat Conservancy.

Part of the problem, I feel, is that so many bat exhibits are so poor - meaning that a decent view of the animals is all but impossible. The very worst, in my opinion, is that at Marwell - just awful, on every level. The bat house at Drusliias works well, I think. There's no attempt at reverse lighting, so visitors get a very good view of the bats. It's a walk-through too, so there is a fantastic smell, and with no barriers (and no darkness) the photography opportunities are very good.
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  #14
Old 25-02-2011

The original OT is a bit misleading. Currently, 18 species of European bats are known to live in the UK (and are only lying around when dead).
UK Bat Species - Bat Conservation Trust
So a better title might be "Exotic bats in the UK" instead.

Please keep in mind that there are Megachiroptera (megabats) and Microchiroptera (microbats) that should not be lumped together too eagerly in terms of certain aspects of husbandry and presentation.

In particular, the many insectivorous species among the Microchiptera are very difficult to keep alive and thriving over longer periods of time, also due to the insufficiency of the offered diet. The amount of work that has to be put into their husbandry does not equal their popularity among the visitors. Therefore, most zoos have stopped exhibiting insectivorous microbats and keep omnivorous/frugivorous microbats (such as Carollia perspillata, Phyllostomus discolor/hastatus etc.) and randomly Common vampires/Pallas's Long-tongued Bat or some particular megachiropterans instead. The only insectivorous bats I have seen so far in captivity are handicapped wild individuals/wild animals before release (like the noctules/Myotis sp. I keep now and then) and some exotic species (f.e. some Mustached Bats) in a few laboratories.

Lurking predatory bats such as Vampyrum spectum, Megaderma lyra or the Australian Ghost Bat would indeed be interesting alternatives and have been/are kept in captivity.
However, catch quotas are limited, and the red tape involved in obtaining and transporting is significant, if not impossible to conquer legally.

The latter is in general a big problem when obtaining all kinds of bats nowadays. Catch quotas are booked way in advance by scientific organisations/laboratories, and due to bats being connected to some of the deadliest zoonotic diseases known (or yet unknown), federal veterinary guidelines are not intended to let them in too easily.

Regulatory husbandry guidelines might also influence the husbandry, presentation and future of the bat species in zoos. Some species (not just bats...) breed better in smaller exhibits. So when the zoo has to follow husbandry guidelines that ask for a large enclosure size, this might result in less breeding success and, over the years, a breakdown of the zoo population. And once the private breeder or university providing the founding population quits, chances are high that the species will disappear from the zoos, as no self-sustaining population exists. Such is currently the case of the Common Vampire Bats in European zoos.

I'm also wondering whether walk-through exhibits with bats are not chronically stressful for the animals kept within. Not much has been investigated into it yet, but captive populations of bolding bats (that are certainly no Sulawesi naked bats...) should make one think...
For those who haven't had the chance so far to experience megachiroptera up close: they're really messy, they bite, they're noisy, they destroy the plants, they need plenty of room to exercise, they potentially harbour dangerous zoonotic diseases, they either breed like rabbits or drop their juveniles down the tree for whatever reason all the time, they can be ingrate patients, etc. etc.-so I can understand that quite a bunch of zoos are not particularily interested in keeping them.

Nevertheless: more bat species in zoo? If possible, why not? Maybe some of the Australian folks up on this forum can send some Ghost bats to Europe. You can have some Rousettus aegyptiacus or Pteropus rodricensis instead.

Last edited by Sun Wukong; 26-02-2011 at 05:35 AM..
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  #15
Old 26-02-2011

I think Kilverstone were the initial UK collection to have a large breeding group of seba's bats, these seemed to radiate out to other collections when they closed (I saw these on the surplus lists). However I could be wrong and there may have been other established groups in existence, but certainly at the end of the 80s I was aware of Sebas at Kilverstone and these appearing in other collections after it closed in the early 90s.

We have Durrell to thank for the majority of our fruit bat groups in UK zoos currently. The other two examples of interest are the imports by the RSCC (little Red Flying Foxes - which seem to have remained on loan to Wingham, I'm not sure what the point of that acquisition was), and Africa Alive, which maintain a breeding group of Straw-coloured fruit bats in its little nocturnal house. I seem to remember Africa Alive opened this nocturnal house with small groups of two species, Epauletted and Straw-coloured bats, but the former didn't seem to last and I strongly suspect a second import (?) of straw-coloured bats occurred to boost numbers before they started breeding well.

Indian fruit bats seem to have disappeared into private hands with the exception of only a few individuals. I do not know of a breeding group of Indian fruit bats on public display in the UK. As the Rodrigues flying fox resembles the Indian species, I am not overly surprised at this shift.
 


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