We rarely get blossom bats into care, but they have all come in from entanglement on barbed wire. Many die from exposure on the fence, because they are so small (1o-20gms) and burn up energy very fast.
We use a diet originally developed at the Territory Wildlife Park near Darwin, but has been modified along the way by different people.
The original diet is:
500mls apple juice
150g raw sugar
150g glucose powder
120g soy-based human breast milk replacer (s26soy or infasoy)
Freeze in small blocks and bring out as required to come to room temperature. Feed about 15mls a night in shallow containers e.g. lids from fruit juice bottles.
They especially like banana flowers and Myrtacae family blossom.
Other additions to this diet are Lorikeet mix, substitute mango/apple juice for apple juice, Wombaroo high protein powder and Ensure powder. We are currently using:
500 mls apple & mango juice
75 g raw sugar
75g glucose powder
60g Wombaroo high protein
60g Ensure powder (We always have it because we use it with the Tube-nosed bats. Expensive to buy so can leave out)
90g Wombaroo Lorikeet mix
There are 2 species of Blossom bat in this area, the Northern blossom bat (Macroglossus minimus) and Eastern/Common blossom bat (Syconycteris australis). The Syconycteris consumes some fruit especially figs and syzygium, but otherwise their diet is pollen and nectar. Although very similar in appearance, Syconycteris is slightly larger (17 – 23 gms) and ‘psycho’ with handling compared to the much calmer Northern species (10-20gms). The Northern has narrow skin flaps along the inside of the legs and a very small stub of a tail.
To learn more about these very interesting bats go to the the following resources:
Churchill, Sue 2008 Australian Bats
Richards, Greg & Hall, Les & Steve Parish Publishing 2012 Bat Working the Night Shift
Law, Brad & Lean, M. 1999 Common blossom bats (Syconycteris australis) as pollinators in fragmented Australian tropical rainforest, Biological Conservation vol 91, pp201-212
Law, Brad 2001 The diet of the common blossom bat (Syconycteris australis) in upland tropical rainforest and the importance of riparian areas Wildlife Research, vol 28, pp619-26
We regularly find Blossom bats caught on the barbed wire fence along the Palmerston Highway near Innisfail.
This is the bat in the photo above, showing how small they really are. They die very quickly when exposed on barbed wire fences.
“Their tongues are long and covered in rows of papillae forming a nectar-absorbing mop” Sue Churchill
Photo above: Blossom bat
This Syconycteris had difficulties with hanging and wrapping one wing, and occasionally hangs by his thumbs. He flies well in our cage but would not fare well in torrential rain, unable to fold his wings well enough to shed water.