Go Batty in the Bundu at Ngwenya Lodge
The most interesting group of small mammals at Ngwenya (and the Kruger National Park) as well as the most important with regard to the predation of night flying insects are bats. Research elsewhere has shown that certain species of insectivorous bats are capable of consuming in the region of 1000 mosquito sized insects per hour! Did you know that these high tech marvels of the night skies comprise almost a quarter of all the mammal species in the Kruger National Park?

Unfortunately, over the millennia bats have become the victims of superstition and myth. It's easy to understand why. Firstly, they are somewhat strange in appearance resembling something like a cross between a bird and a rodent.

Secondly, like many other nocturnal creatures such as owls and hyenas they have been associated with witchcraft and the spirit world. Bats have become a symbol for countless horror tales and films and this stereotyping has molded and reinforced the commonly held perception that bats are something to be feared and avoided. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. Bats can be divided into two basic groups, namely:
MEGA BATS - predominantly fruit eating bats or flying foxes
MICRO BATS - predominanty insect eating bats making up about 70% of all bat species.

South Africa has 4 species of fruit eating bats and 52 species species of insectivorous bats.
Three species of bats, namely Angolan free-tailed bats, Sundevails's leaf-nosed bats and Wahlberg's epauletted fruit bats roost in significant colonies at Ngwenya Lodge.
Many other species also occur at and in the vicinity of the lodge.
Ngwenya bat house
Ngwenya bat watching
As part of an eco-educational project, Ngwenya Lodge erected bat houses for Angolan free-tailed bats to roost in. This species occurs in the greatest numbers at Ngwenya and is therefore the most obvious insectivorous bat seen at the lodge.
New Bat Discovery in South Africa at Ngwenya
In October 2005 the first ever recording of a Giant Yellow House Bat (Scotophilus nigrata) in South Africa was made at Ngwenya Lodge! In a fitting tribute to his bat house building efforts, Nigel Fernsby discovered a small number of these animals roosting in some of the bat boxes built for freetailed bats at Ngwenya Lodge. Begin your own journey of discovery into the world of bats by getting yourself a copy of 'Bats of Southern Africa' by PJ Taylor (Univ of Natal Press, 2000) and join the Bat Interest Group nearest to you.
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