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.