Seychelles sheath-tailed bat

The Seychelles sheath-tailed bat, Coleura seychellensis, is a sac-winged bat. It occurs in the central granitic islands of the Seychelles. It was probably abundant throughout the Seychelles in the past, but it has declined drastically and is now extinct on most islands.

It is one of the most endangered animals, fewer than 100 are believed to exist in the world. The Seychelles sheath-tailed bat has suffered from habitat deterioration due to the effects of introduced plant species. The largest surviving roost is on Silhouette Island, although small roosts do exist in Mahé and also Praslin and La Digue islands. Its lifespan is 20 years and also its length is 55–65 millimetres (2.2–2.6 in). It finds its mates by fighting with another male bat in front of the females.

The weight of Seychelles sheath-tailed bats averages about 10–11 grams (0.35–0.39 oz). Bats in this genus generally roost in caves and houses, in crevices and cracks. In the 1860s, the Seychelles sheath-tailed bat was reported to fly around clumps of bamboo towards twilight, and in the daytime to be found roosting in the clefts of the mountainside facing the sea and with a more or less northern aspect. These hiding places were generally covered over with the large fronds of endemic palms. The Seychelles sheath-tailed bat is insectivorous. Its colonies are apparently divided into harem groups.

It has been the focus of recent intensive research, which has determined that it is a species associated with small clearings in forest where it feeds on a wide variety of insect species. Observations of coastal or marsh feeding are thought to be bats that have been forced into feeding in unusual situations due to habitat deteroration. Although the species is not a specialist and has a high reproductive potential it is very vulnerable to disturbance and requires several roost sites within healthy habitat.

Seychelles sheath-tailed bat
Population size:
< 100 mature individuals
Two small caves on Silhouette and Mahé, Seychelles
Habitat degradation and predation by invasive species
Action required:
Removal of invasive vegetation and control of introduced predators, coupled with legal protection of habitat and roosting sites Aggressive control of invasive vegetation and predators, drawing from international experience in the eradication of these threats, could assist this little bats recovery.

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