This bat belongs to an ancient family of sheath-tailed bats, so called because of the nature of the membrane which stretches between the hind legs.
By adjusting the hind legs in flight, this membrane can be lengthened or shortened as it slips over the tail, increasingly manoeuvrability in flight. There are only two species in its genus Coleura, and there are 13 modern genera and 51 species within its family Emballonuridae. It was previously common on the Seychelles Islands, though it has undergone a severe population decline over the past 30 years. Less than one hundred bats are believed to survive today, in just two locations. The major threat they face is the clearance of their lowland forest habitat for plantations. In the intensively managed plantations, there is no shrub layer to support the invertebrate diet of the Seychelles sheath-tailed bat. Furthermore, the mosaic of forests and differing plantations has fragmented the remaining populations. The invasive Kudzu vine also poses a threat; as it may overgrow roost cave entrances, or change the temperature gradient within caves; disturbing their roosting behaviour. They also face predation from the invasive species of barn owl, and feral cats. Conservation programmes require support in order to ensure that this species has a future.
- Order: Chiroptera
- Family: Emballonuridae
- Population: <100
- Trend: decreasing
- Size: 55-65mm
- Weight: 10.2-11g
Endemic to the Seychelles Islands, this species is known only rom the island of Silhouette and the west coast of Mahé.
Habitat and Ecology
This species’ inhabit coasts areas, where they roost in boulder caves and foraging in coastal woodland for insects. Females give birth to a single offspring during the rainy season (November-December) and sometimes in March-April.