Bats don’t get the best rap. Associated with Halloween and horror movies, and for instilling fear in a young Batman, these largely nocturnal creatures are not always painted in the best light.

But did you know, these remarkable animals are the only mammals capable of flight? You probably learnt in school that they also use echolocation to hunt and find their way in the dark.

Here are a few more fun facts in honour of International Bat Appreciation Day:

Flying fox in a tree in Cairns

Spectacled Flying Fox in Cairns, Australia.

Extreme weather impacts on bats

Unfortunately, climate change and extreme heat pose a huge threat to bats in Australia and globally. Unlike humans, bats cannot regulate their body temperature, and when the temperature creeps over 38 °Celsius, heat stress can be fatal.

In 2019, between 3000-5000 bats died during a heatwave in Victoria, plummeting out of trees in a mass dying event.

Native to Australia, the grey-headed flying-fox (like many flying-foxes), is particularly susceptible to these mass dying events.

We are seeing record temperatures around Australia, fuelled by climate pollution. The grey-headed flying-fox is already threatened, and with extreme weather events on the rise, they face an uncertain future.

Grey-headed flying fox

A Threatened Grey-Headed Flying Fox

Re-wilding the Inner West

In Sydney’s Inner West, a group of passionate ACF community members are fighting to protect the grey-headed flying-fox.

Between 2020 and 2022, over 29 hectares of tree canopy coverage – home to the grey-headed flying fox – was lost. ACF Community Inner West are campaigning to secure council commitment to meet the Greater Sydney target of 40% canopy cover. This canopy cover is key for providing food and shelter for the animals and plant species in the area.

Join the campaign to protect the grey-headed flying fox, today.

We need strong nature laws, now

To protect bats and other animals into the future, we need strong nature laws that consider climate impacts on nature, and we need them now.

Join the 750,000+ people calling for stronger nature laws.

Peta Bulling

Nature Campaigner