Mauritian Tomb Bat

Taphozous mauritianus

When we found a small colony of Mauritian Tomb Bats on the outside walls of the reception office at the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park’s Nyalazi Gate, it presented a good opportunity to learn a bit more about this seldomly seen creature.

Mauritian Tomb Bats are quite large for insectivorous bats, weighing as much as 36g and up to 11cm long. They occur in the moist savanna areas of north-eastern South Africa, further north into Central and East Africa, as well as on a few of the islands of the Indian Ocean. By day they roost in small, loosely associated groups on the shaded walls of buildings or on tree trunks, and not in caves or tombs as their name might suggest. At night they forage for moths and other nocturnal invertebrates, which they catch and eat in flight.

Most females raise a single baby at a time, though some do give birth twice annually. Dependent young cling to the mother as she flies around and at their roost, but as soon as they can fly themselves they become autonomous.

The IUCN considers the Mauritian Tomb Bat of “Least Conservation Concern” owing to its wide distribution, large population, and tolerance for habitat change.


31 thoughts on “Mauritian Tomb Bat

  1. AfriBats

    Excellent photos, and great story! Would you add your photos as a citizen-science observation to the AfriBats project on iNaturalist?:

    AfriBats will use your observations to better understand bat distributions and help protect bats in Africa.

    Please locate your picture on the map as precisely as possible to maximise the scientific value of your records.

    Many thanks!


  2. Midwestern Plant Girl

    Oh! They are so adorable!
    I’ve always liked bats. I remember my Mom bringing me to a nearby forest preserve shelter [the FP closed it to use since the bats moved in, but you could still walk up to it and look in]. I remember them hanging upside down and making cute bat noises. I wish they didn’t get such a bad rap. Can you imagine the clouds of insects we’d be walking though if they weren’t around! Gaaa! We put up a bat house on our roof this summer, hoping someone would move in. Not sure if that happened, but fingers crossed!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      I’m sure your local bat populous would soon find their new accommodations and feel quite at home there, Ilex! They are critical to a healthy ecology and, with intelligent alterations like the one you’ve made can live quite harmoniously with humans.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. BETH

    I would like to add that there are sound machines that drive them out through the spaces where they entered and then the houseowner can close the holes later. If there are trees nearby, the colonies can easily find refuge there.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      We also like the more “nature-friendly” ways of dealing with bat colonies taking up residence inside houses, Beth. By feeding on insects such as flies, midges and mosquitoes they’re such an integral part of the ecosystem and actually a great help to humans, and shouldn’t just be destroyed willy-nilly.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. BETH

    Any kind of bat becomes a problem when it roosts in your attic. One can quickly get a “house full” of the smelly creatures before they realize they are there. If your house has a ridge roof, check the ridge to be sure it is completely closed or you will invite bats to live with you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Luckily the Mauritian Tomb Bat is not in the habit of moving into houses, they’d rather sleep on the outer walls. But many other species of bats here in South Africa, and I suppose the world over, will take up residence inside roofs, which can be much more than a little nuisance or inconvenience…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. colonialist

    Amazing little creatures. It is encouraging that they are not endangered. They probably do an astonishing job of keeping insect populations down; without bats we would be inundated with all manner of creepy-crawlies.
    One would assume some colonies were originally found in tombs, or one wonders how on earth they got their name.

    Liked by 3 people


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