This cage was gifted by the Synchronicity Foundation in the United Kingdom. It is an 8 metre octagon with 3 metre sides and 3 -3.5 metres high. A ‘human area’ 3 metres by 2 metres allows entry through 2 doors into the octagon. The cage is lined externally with 6mm by 6 mm wire mesh, and internally with 6mm by 6mm plastic mesh on the sides, and a very small weave netting on the ceiling. The entire roof is covered with solarshield plastic. The floor is covered with black weedmat to prevent grass growing through and soil coming up, and allows any rain to drain away. The weedmat is covered with a pale shadecloth so that it is easy to see any grounded bats. Roost areas are set up around the central pole and on the octagon sides. Two fluoro lights, one black and one white are installed on mains electricity above the central roosting area. We turn the white light on at dusk until we go to bed to encourage insects into the cage, and leave only the black light on overnight.
The inside of the microbat cage showing central structure that encourages continuous flight.
Cyclone Yasi in 2013 caused a large tree to fall onto the side of the cage. Funding from IFAW helped to repair it.
We use flexariums for housing some species within the cage.
We have used the cage now very successfully since 2004. In that time a number of small tube-nosed fruitbats (55gms) have come into care, and this cage has worked well for them as well. We have a release hatch in the side wall of the cage for the tube-nosed bats. The black light attracts a lot of insects into the cage, and has also attracted the world’s largest moth to the outside of the cage, the Atlas moth. One problem has been the harshness of the original 50% shadecloth floor as it was quite abrasive for those bats that crash land repeatedly. We installed a new floor in 2012 after it was damaged in cyclone Yasi and remedied this problem by using a 90% shade cloth that is much softer.