Shoeing a horse involves attaching a metal shoe to his hoof to protect it and provide traction on different surfaces. Horses that are ridden frequently or used for work often need shoes to protect their hooves from excessive wear and tear.
However, not all horses need shoes, and the frequency of shoeing can vary depending on the horse’s use and hoof health.
What Affects Timeframe of Shoeing?
One of the most common reasons for shoeing is to provide extra support and protection to your horse’s hooves if they commonly work on hard or uneven terrain.
For example, horses which are used for jumping, racing, or trail riding may need more frequent shoeing as they’re susceptible to more excessive wear and tear. In contrast, horses used mainly for leisurely trail rides or kept in a paddock may not need shoes as frequently.
The frequency of shoeing also depends on the horse’s hoof health. Horses with weak or brittle hooves may need to be shod more often to protect them from further damage. Additionally, horses with conditions such as laminitis or navicular disease may require special shoeing techniques or frequent shoeing to manage their condition.
So, How Often Should you Shoe Your Horse?
The general rule of thumb is to have your horse shod every 6-8 weeks, but this can vary depending on the horse’s use and hoof health.
Regular check-ups with a farrier are essential to determine the best shoeing schedule for your horse.
It’s also important to note not all horses need shoes. Barefoot horses can do well if their hooves are strong and healthy, and they are not used for strenuous work or riding on hard surfaces. However, barefoot horses require regular trimming and maintenance to keep their hooves healthy.
A Final Thought on How Often Do Horses Need Shoeing
In conclusion, shoeing is an essential part of a horse’s hoof care routine, and the frequency of shoeing depends on the horse’s use and hoof health.
As a responsible horse owner it is essential to work with a knowledgeable farrier to determine the best shoeing schedule for your horse. Remember to schedule regular check-ups and maintain good hoof care practices to keep your horse healthy, happy, and comfortable.
What types of horse shoes are available?
There are several types of horse shoes available, including steel, aluminum, and synthetic shoes. The type of shoe used will depend on the horse’s needs, the terrain it works on, and the type of work it performs.
Is shoeing painful for horses?
Shoeing should not be painful for horses if it is done correctly. However, the process of shoeing can be uncomfortable for horses, as it involves holding up their legs for extended periods of time and the noise and vibrations from the tools used.
Who can shoe a horse?
Only trained and licensed farriers or blacksmiths should shoe horses. It is a skilled profession that requires specialised knowledge of equine anatomy and hoof care. Attempting to shoe a horse without proper training and equipment can result in injury to the horse or the handler.
Rainbow Lorikeets can be aggressive towards other native parrots, especially around nesting hollows. This prevents other native parrots from nesting, and since the introduction of the bird they have been known to throw Australian Ringneck nestlings from their home.
This is the key reason they are considered pests in Australia, and research has shown they disrupt the balance of native Australian birds and wildlife.
Why do Rainbow Lorikeets make good pets?
Putting the issues with Rainbow Lorikeets in the Australian environment aside, many Australians keep them as pets.
Whilst these birds are known to be aggressive around other parrots, as pets they are beautiful birds who love human company. Owners of Rainbow Lorikeets will tell you how chatty these birds are, with a playful and highly interactive nature. Simply put, they quickly become a part of the family.
They love to entertain and show off their bubbly personalities, both to you and your guests.
Rainbow Lorikeets also enjoy the company of the same species, especially when raised from a nestling upwards. There’s a saying about two birds being better than one, which is true for these birds.
Why do they NOT make a good pet?
Before you go out and buy one, lets take a look at the flipside.
Rainbow Lorikeets are messy.
Their feaces needs to be cleaned every other day, as if it isn’t it quickly becomes very unpleasant. Loris can also projectile deficate from their cage, which is due to their daily nectar diet along with fresh fruit.
Some owners prefer to use dry nectar as opposed to wet nectar which can help make their poops less “squirty”.
Lorikeets like to splash around in their water baths, usually twice per day, meaning the water goes all over the floor. You’ll be surprised at the mess they can make.
Male and Female Loris appear the same, so if you have two then it’s worth getting a DNA analysis by a vet.
Like other parrots Rainbow Lorikeets can be noisy, so make sure you get on with your neighbours if they’re in close proximity!
Do you own a Rainbow Lorikeet? Are they a pest or a pet?
Sea turtles have been returning to the land for over 100 million years to lay their eggs, but today their populations are experiencing detrimental human-induced impacts which threaten their extinction.
The purpose of this study is to cover the threats our sea turtles face, in Australia and around the world.
On the Sunshine Coast of Australia, the most prominent species to lay eggs on our beaches is the Loggerhead (Caretta caretta). To a a lesser extent the Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas).
To give you an idea of the importance of protecting these turtles, the number of Loggerhead Turtles on Australia’s eastern coast amounts to as little as 500 nesting females, which makes the Sunshine Coast population a small but very important sub-population.
The Sunshine Coast is also home to the Flatback turtle (Natator depressus) and Hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata).
That makes the Sunshine Coast home to four of the seven recognised species of sea turtle in existence today:
Green turtle (Chelonia mydas)
Loggerhead (Caretta caretta)
Flatback (Natator depressus)
Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata)
Leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea)
Olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea)
Kemp’s ridley (Lepidochelys kempii)
Threats to Sea Turtles
There are many threats to our sea totals, but the below five are considered the most significant:
Pacific Adventurer oil spill
Discarded fishing line
Let’s take a look at these five threats in more detail:
Plastic in the marine environment
If someone had suggested a hundred years ago humankind would create a material so resilient and pervasive it would become a toxic unsightly legacy that would help push individual species to the brink of extinction, we would’ve thought they were joking.
Of course such a scenario was never the intention. It is, however, today’s reality, and plastic can seriously undermine entire ecological systems.
While the issue of plastic supermarket bags continues to be handballed around the political arena, more than 1 million marine animals die every single year from entanglement in or ingestion of a whole range of anthropogenic debris, mostly plastics and other synthetic substances.
Whereas effort has been made to reduce the number of plastic bags in circulation, we still consume many products contained or made with plastic, which are often discarded without consideration for the environment.
The staggering quantities of plastic waste trapped in the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre raises great concern, especially with the vast quantities of plastic waste accumulating daily.
When such information passes the public eye, such as an event, article, or documentary, we often ask “How can this happen?”
The North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, as a key example, is an area of ocean fifty times the size of Tasmania.
How can such an area by covered in plastic so thick it looks like a solid surface?
This gyre is affected by a combination of ocean and atmospheric currents which combine to capture and hold the waste, which makes it an unnatural ocean “landfill” on a scale few of us can comprehend.
In fact, while the plastic soup in the north Pacific is shocking beyond belief, the problem is by no means confined to that area.
Consider this – today almost anywhere on earth a scientist can examine a cup of sand or seawater and find a range of plastics in a variety of sizes.
So how does this happen?
Problem #1: Plastic is not biodegradable
No one can say exactly how much plastic has been manufactured since its invention but one thing is known for sure – all of it is still with us.
Plastic is not biodegradable.
Organic material such as food scraps or paper will eventually break down to become carbon dioxide and water. Plastic on the other hand is bio-inert, which means it is chemically very stable and will not degrade like naturally occurring materials.
Instead, plastic will be progressively weakened by sun and sea until it becomes brittle and breaks up into increasingly smaller pieces. It will not reduce to carbon dioxide and water.
Problem #2: We have a heavy reliance on too much plastic
Simply put – we use way too much plastic.
Our food packaging system relies almost entirely on plastic, and the common method of marketing other goods means the majority of non-food consumables are also packaged in plastic.
In Australia alone more than 700 million litres of bottled water are consumed every year.
Each bottle might take on average a couple of minutes to consume, but hundreds of years from now the bottle will still exist.
Problem #3: Plastic is easy to discard as litter
Plastic is very lightweight and can easily be blown directly into the ocean or make its way there via urban drains, creeks and rivers.
In years gone by, many countries also dumped millions of tons of municipal garbage directly into the ocean.
While this practice has almost stopped, the legacy is enduring to the point that in many areas of the ocean surface plastic outweighs plankton.
Some countries still discard plastic waste into our oceans.
How does plastic threaten marine life?
The effect of plastic on marine life can be devastating.
Minute particles of plastic are consumed by the filter feeder organisms that form the base of the marine food web.
This presents two problems in that plastic materials themselves are known to be toxic and they also appear to act as a sponge for other pollutants which are taken up by the filter feeders.
As the plastic molecules progress through each trophic feeding level, animals at the upper trophic levels, such as birds, fish, marine mammals and sea turtles can accumulate increasingly larger quantities of toxins in their bodies.
Larger pieces of plastic present an additional problem. Some plastics, when in water, can look remarkably like an animal’s natural food. When an animal consumes these plastics, it can clog up their digestive system leading to prolonged and painful internal injuries, often resulting in death.
Worse yet, as the dead animal decomposes the plastic is freed, relatively intact, to be ingested by another marine animal that may again mistake it for food.
Because plastics are extremely variable in their composition, colour and shape they tend to break down to produce a correspondingly infinite variety of shapes, sizes and colours.
This diversity increases the availability to a wider range of organisms.
For example, sea turtles can mistake plastic bags for jellyfish; filter feeders (including the larger baleen marine mammals) inadvertently take up large quantities of plastic; and seabirds, particularly surface feeders, ingest large quantities of plastic both directly from the surface and through ingestion of fish and other prey.
What can we do to reduce plastic in the environment?
To most of us the problem seems almost insurmountable when we are confronted with so few alternatives to the plastic packaging that dominates the market today.
Here are some ways we can help reduce plastic in the environment:
Tell governments and manufacturers we have made a mistake and it is a mistake that needs to be urgently rectified. We need to let them know it is not acceptable that a chocolate bar which takes 30 seconds to eat is packaged in a wrapper that will persist in the environment for hundreds of years. It is not okay that a disposable plastic bottle used to hold a drink that can be consumed in minutes will contribute to the already staggering millions of tons of plastic waste littering the planet.
Modify your personal buying habits, and encourage others to do the same. If possible, avoid products packaged in plastic, especially those which are over-packaged.
Minimise your use of takeaway food and drink containers. For example, carry a drink bottle from home in preference to buying bottled water.
Foxes as a threat to sea turtles
Foxes are a serious threat to turtles and other native wildlife on the Sunshine Coast.
Introduced to Australia in the mid 1800s for hunting purposes, the European Red fox (Vulpes vulpes) can now be found in every part of the Australian mainland, except the tropical north.
The fox is regarded as one of the most elusive animals in the world, which is probably why people are generally surprised to learn that there are an estimated 7 million foxes in Australia.
That’s around one fox for every three Australians!
It is estimated it took only 100 years for foxes to achieve their current distribution in Australia, which is not surprising when you consider the following:
Foxes are extremely adaptable, being equally at home in coastal dunes, bushland, urban environments and agricultural landscapes. In Australia the population density in urban areas is estimated to be around 12/km2 (in Melbourne as high as 16/km2).
Foxes are sexually mature from about 10 months of age.
Foxes mate once a year in winter and produce on average four pups but can have as many as ten per litter.
Around the age of 6 to 9 months foxes will disperse from where they were born. Females usually disperse 3-15km and males 11-43km, although distances much longer have been recorded.
Foxes are primarily carnivorous scavengers and opportunistic predators that are well adapted to utilising a varied diet.
Depending on breeding and immigration rates, fox populations can withstand up to 75% yearly mortality rates.
Foxes have long been recognised as a serious threat to much of Australia’s wildlife – not only turtle eggs and hatchlings.
Australia’s wildlife has not evolved in the presence of foxes and consequently usually lacks the necessary skills to avoid fox predation.
To give you an idea of the potential impact of foxes in Australian ecosystems, consider the following:
Any animal up to 5.5kg may be taken as prey, which includes the majority of Australia’s mammals and almost all of its reptiles, birds and insects.
A single fox eats an average 400g of food per night, or 150kg per year, made up of a huge range of human scraps, mammals, reptiles, birds and invertebrates.
The fox is known to have caused the extinction of at least 6 Australian mammals and is in the process of driving a further 10 animal species to the brink of extinction.
Through predation of eggs and hatchlings, the fox is one of the most significant threats to endangered Loggerhead turtles nesting on Sunshine Coast beaches.
Foxes also regularly prey on domestic poultry and stock, which are usually easy targets for the hunting prowess of foxes. In 2004 it was estimated the cost of foxes to the environment and the agricultural sector was in the order of almost $230 million.
The mortality of young foxes is high (up to 80% in the first year) with most deaths caused by road-kill, disease, trapping, poisoning and food shortage.
In the fox’s native Europe and North America, distemper and mange are thought to be significant natural controlling factors, but their role in the Australian environment is not currently known.
Despite the high mortality rate, the fox’s inherent capacity to breed quickly and establish new territories has resulted in a fox population in Australia that is at least stable, but likely increasing in some areas.
Pacific Adventurer oil spill
On 11 March 2009 the Pacific Adventurer, enroute from Newcastle to Indonesia, Cyclone Hamish, ran into trouble off the northern tip of Moreton Island in South East Queensland.
The 185m container ship lost 31 containers of ammonium nitrate after they came loose in high seas whipped up by Cyclone Hamish.
Some of the containers subsequently pierced the ship’s hull, releasing more than 200 tonnes of fuel oil into the ocean, which coated beaches and headlands on Moreton Island and the Sunhine Coast.
At the time the oil spill occurred there were still sixteen sea turtle nests between Shelly Beach and Buddina that hadn’t emerged.
Volunteers from Sunshine Coast TurtleCare, officers from the Sunshine Coast Regional, SCRCCouncil and Queensland’s Environment Protection Agency worked together to protect the remaining nests by containing hatchlings to prevent them running across oil contaminated beaches.
The hatchlings were contained by placing purpose built enclosures that attached simply but securely to the existing fox exclusion mesh barriers that were in place over each nest.
Approximately 300 hatchlings from three nests emerged in the few days immediately following the spill and they were safely released at the unaffected Teewah Beach where they were able to undertake a relatively normal run to the ocean.
Hatchlings from a further three nests in the following days were released at Shelly Beach and Dicky Beach, which were then free of any oil contamination.
Another two nests emerged prior to the permanent removal of the enclosures. The hatchlings were released at the nest site after it was confirmed to be clear of any oil hazard.
The response to the crisis from volunteers and the wider Sunshine Coast community was overwhelmingly supportive with offers of assistance flooding in to the agencies participating in the clean up.
Discarded fishing line kills wildlife
When fishing line and hooks are carelessly discarded into the environment they have the potential of injuring and killing a wide range of wildlife.
The effects of ghost nets that have been abandoned or lost at sea are well documented. But perhaps not so well known are the devastating effects for some wildlife of carelessly discarded or lost fishing line from recreational fishers.
Fish and marine mammals, birds and reptiles can become entangled in old line or snagged by hooks, resulting in serious injury or death.
Shore birds can become entangled in line while foraging on the shore and land birds will often attempt to incorporate old fishing line into their nests, sometimes with disastrous effects for hatching chicks.
The Sunshine Coast Regional Council, with the assistance of funding from the Federal government’s Caring for our Country grant program, has installed special fishing line recycling bins at key locations on the Sunshine Coast.
A total of twenty-three bins have been placed at boat ramps, near fish cleaning tables and at popular fishing spots on the coast.
People are urged to use the bins to dispose of any unwanted fishing line and tackle to reduce the amount of line finding its way into the environment.
The new bins follow a successful trial in the Noosa area several years ago and, once the current installations are all done, the bins will be in use right across the region.
How Ghost Nets threaten Sea Turtles
Ghost nets are fishing nets which have been either lost or abandoned at sea.
Sometimes nicknamed “walls of death” they drift on ocean currents indiscriminately catching a wide range of marine animals, including turtles, dugong, sharks and dolphins.
For thousands of years the Gulf of Carpentaria has acted as a catchment for marine debris for the Indo-Pacific region. In the past currents sweeping into the Gulf carried debris like canoes, organic fibre nets, tree logs and other organic material.
Over the last few decades, however, the composition of the debris has changed dramatically.
Nets woven from natural fibres have given way to synthetic nets which are so resilient they can persist in the marine environment for hundreds of years.
Once inside the Gulf, the nets – often still buoyed by floats – become trapped in the clockwise spin of the Gulf of Carpentaria Gyre which is fed by the north-west monsoon pattern.
These “ghost nets” will remain in an endless cycle of washing ashore in storms and back into the spin of the gyre unless they are collected when they are washed ashore.
The growing weight of dead animals in the nets can outweigh the buoyancy of the floats and force the net out of circulation for a while.
However, after the trapped dead animals break down or get eaten the net’s buoyancy returns and it is set adrift to start the cycle all over again.
The Carpentaria Ghost Net Programme, led by indigenous communities in the Gulf, commenced in 2004 with the assistance of Federal government NHT funding.
In a 50 month period up to July 2009 almost 90,000m of ghost netting had been collected from the Gulf.
Can you imagine the shear size of that netting?
The largest nets found to date in the Gulf were Taiwanese gill nets which stretched out to approximately 4km in length with a drop of 12m.
It is hard to imagine the devastating effect of that netting to sea turtles and other sea life.
Sea turtle books for young and general readers
Books for young readers
The Smallest Turtle by Lynley Dodd 2008, ABC Books ISBN 0733322085
Little Turtle and the Song of the Sea by Norma Burgin & illustrated by Sheridan Cain 2001, Little Tiger Press ISBN 1854306200
One Tiny Turtle by Jane Chapman & Nicola Davies 2005, Candlewick Press ISBN 0763623113
Diego and the Baby Sea Turtles by Warner McGee & Lisa Rao 2001, Crabtree Publishing Co ISBN 1416954503
Baby Turtle’s Tales by Elle J McGuiness 2009, Andrews McMeal ISBN 0740781022
Turtle (Watch Me Grow) 2006, Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd ISBN 1405313099
Turtle’s Song by Alan Brown & illustrated by Kim Michelle Toft 2001,University of Queensland Press ISBN 1702231533
Journey of the Sea Turtle by Mark Wilson 2009, Lothian Books ISBN 073441109X
Endangered Sea Turtles by Bobbie Kalman 2004 by Crabtree Publishing Co ISBN 0778718999
Into the Sea by Brenda Z. Guiberson & illustrated by Alix Berenzy 1996, Henry Holt ISBN 0805022635
Sea Turtles (Undersea Encounters) by Mary Jo Rhodes & David hall 2005, Children’s Press ISBN 0516243918
Books for general readers
Sea Turtles: A Complete Guide to Their Biology, Behaviour and Conservation by James R Spotila 2004, The John Hopkins Press ISBN 0801880076
Voyage of the Turtle: In Pursuit of the World’s Last Dinosaur by Carl Safina 2007, Owl Books, Henry Holt Co. ISBN 0805083189
Sea Turtles: An Extraordinary Natural History of Some Uncommon Turtles by Blair Ernest Witherington 2006, Voyager Press ISBN 100760326444
Interrupted Journey: Saving Endangered Sea Turtles by Kathryn Lasky & Christopher G. Knight 2001, Candlewick Press ISBN 0763606359
The Biology of Sea Turtles, by Peter L. Lutz, John A. Musick 1996, CRC Press ISBN 0849384222
The Biology of Sea Turtles, Vol 2 by Peter Lutz, John A. Musick & Jeanette Wyneken 1996, CRC Press ISBN 0849311233
Sea Turtles: An Ecological Perspective by David Gulko & Karen Eckert 2004, Mutual Publishing Co ISBN 1566476518
Bats can consume half their body weight in insects per night during the warmer/summer months. Pregnant bats can consume up to their entire body weight in insects per night in the warmer/summer months.
Microbats go into ‘torpor’ during the cooler/colder months from approximately May to August.
Flying-foxes do not go into torpor so need to feed and drink all year around.
Bats must not be disturbed when in ‘torpor’/hibernation as they can lose their energy/fat supply which has been stored/built-up ready for the winter, resulting in the eventual death of the bats.
Microbats are our most environmentally-friendly pest exterminators feeding on many mosquitoes, beetles, flies, moths, and many, many more insects.
Flying-foxes are one of our essential night pollinators and long-distance ‘native tree’ planters/foresters.
Bats generally live to between 5-10 years but can live up to 20 – 30 years. A small Myotis Fishing Bat has been recorded living approximately 41 years!! (Susan Barnard – Bats in Captivity Volume)
Bats can hang upside down by their feet, with little effort. It takes more effort for a bat to release the tendons in its feet to fly away.
The word ‘Chiroptera’ – the Order of Bats – means ‘hand-wing’. Microchiroptera (sub-order) relates to our microbats. Megachiroptera (sub-order) relates to our megabats, for example, the Flying Foxes/Fruit/Blossom Bats.
Bats have incredible membranes in between their elongated fingers. They do have a thumb and four fingers.
Bats have varying tails, for example, a tail which is enclosed fully within the membrane like the Gould’s Wattled Bat. The Yellow-Bellied Sheathtail Bat has half its tail enclosed in the tail membrane. The White-Striped Freetail Bat and the Southern Freetail Bat have a ‘free-tail’ with minimal tail membrane. The Flying Foxes have no tail.
The rare Ghost Bat can be viewed at the Adelaide Zoo. These Ghost Bats are part of the Australasian Regional Zoos Program. The Adelaide Zoo has had reasonable success with breeding Ghost Bats, and have bred 17 individuals in the past 10 years.
The most commonly ‘heard’ bats around Adelaide are the White-Striped Freetail Bat and the Yellow-Bellied Sheathtail Bat (due to humans only being able to hear at approximately 20khz and below).
The most commonly ‘rescued’ bats are the Gould’s Wattled Bat, the Lesser Long-eared Bat, the Southern Freetail Bat, the Chocolate Wattled Bat.
Bats are placental mammals giving birth to live pups/young just like humans do and only have 1-2 babies per year if that! Twins are common in some species of Microbats.
There are presently 8 common species, 6 rare species and 1 endangered species.
Diet, Habitat & Behaviour
Microbats consume approximately half their body weight in insects per night over the warmer/summer months. They are our natural pest-controllers. Their diet is full of many types of insects, including mosquitoes, moths, beetles, flying ants, caterpillars and flies.
Microbats are nocturnal. They are warm-blooded, placental mammals. They live in tree-hollows, under loose/exfoliating bark, in old sheds, in caves, and also co-exist with humans in their homes, for example, in roof spaces and wall linings without any concerns in general.
In the cooler months, between May to August, our bats go into torpor, similar to hibernation. They must not be disturbed during these cooler months. If they are disturbed, they can lose their precious fat storage/supplies that they have built up ready for their slumber, and possibly die as a consequence.
Microbats are very secretive little creatures. We need to respect their privacy and let them go about their business – eradicating all those pest insects the natural way!
Threats To Our Bat Populations
Humans seem to be the major threat to bats! We are taking away their habitat daily. We are cutting down trees which provide homes for these little nocturnal mammals (tree hollows take approximately 100 years to develop!).
We use too many pesticides in our parks and gardens. Remember our bats eat some of these insects that have been poisoned!
Our domesticated cats and dogs can also bring these little mammals inside to show us what they have caught like they do with mice and baby birds!
Here are some reasons why bats in Australia require rescue and human help:
They are brought in by domesticated cats and dogs
They are brought in because they are found on the ground/exposed during the day (this is not where they should be)
They have fractures to their very delicate bones, generally to the forearm
They have torn membranes – wing damage
They have been electrocuted/severe burns
They have Alopecia – fur/hair loss
They are Anaemic
They are about to give birth
They are very thin
They are still pups – baby bats are called pups
They can land in dog/animal water-bowls and swimming pools and need assistance and drying out before they can be released that evening (depending once again on weather conditions/season, and condition of the bat). They have come down for a drink and, unfortunately, cannot fly back out again once water-logged
Usually though, a short time in care can see bats released back into their natural habitat.
Cats especially will pierce the skin/tear membranes and will generally infect the bat as cats carry many bacteria on their teeth. Immediate Veterinarian attention is necessary to help save the bat. Please go to www.catbib.com.au for the CatBib which can help prevent cats from killing our wildlife.
Disturbance to bats during Autumn and Winter when they are hibernating/in torpor can kill many bats. So please stay away from caves, especially, where many cave-dwelling bats will colonise and torpor during the colder months.
On occasions, bats are found in homes (roof spaces/wall linings), sheds (under hessian bags or horse blankets), roosting in/on machinery and other cosy, warm spots! Please do not disturb or handle them. Please contact us for assistance.
Natural causes including drought, storms and climate change are impacting on bat populations, especially, the Southern Bent-wing Bat which is now endangered within South Australia! This species is critically endangered around Australia!! Further reading is available on the Southern Bent-wing Bat of the Naracoorte Caves.
Please contact James Smith, FauNature for further advice on bats co-existing with people and the benefits of artificial roost boxes.
The Ghost Bat, Australia’s largest carnivorous echolocating bat, was recorded in the past (prior to 1970) around the Flinders Ranges in South Australia. This bat is a threatened ‘vulnerable’ species, restricted to caves and abandoned mines. This species is now restricted to Tropical Northern Australia. Destruction and disturbance have caused their numbers to dramatically decline (Sue Churchill – ‘Australian Bats’ – Second Edition). Zoos SA – Adelaide Zoo – have been part of the Australasian Regional Zoo Conservation Program for over ten years with reasonable success, having bred over 17 individuals during this period of time. The lifespan of the Ghost Bat is approximately 15 to 20 years.
Echolocation – ‘Seeing with Sound’!
Bats emit a high-frequency call when searching for their insects. The call is emitted from the mouth and nose of the bat. The sonar pulses/signals emitted are returned to the bat as an echo, giving the bat the information of the size of insect and its location. Most bat sonar pulses are beyond the range of human hearing.
Two Adelaide bats are within our range of hearing, these being:
Yellow-bellied Sheathtail Bat (Saccolaimus flaviventris)
White-striped Freetail Bat (Tadarida australis)
There is a lovely book available now through CSIRO – ‘BATS – Working the Night Shift’.
This is an excellent book if you wish to learn more about Echolocation and anything else about our beautiful Australian bats! Dr Greg Richards and Dr Les Hall are the wonderful authors.
Bat Conservation International also have an Educational Manual called ‘Discovering Bats’ which has a very informative section on Echolocation.
Microbat Care & Rehabilitation Process
We assess the bat for any injuries, and have Veterinarians who can assist us promptly with treatment and medications.
Depending upon the injury, some of the bats that have come into care go back to where they came from within a few days. Unfortunately, many require euthanasing due to their terrible injuries.
Only a small number of microbats are kept in permanent care if they are unable to be released back into the wild. Specialised Permits must be obtained from the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources to care for these specialised mammals.
In care, our orphaned pups receive Wombaroo Insectivorous Bat Milk Replacer (a wonderful South Australian product). Our juvenile and adult bats are offered mealworms, moths, crickets and woodies in general. Supplementary additives such as Wombaroo Insect Booster (new product line), Wombaroo Small Carnivore/Insectivore Mixture and Missing Link (Omega 3 Supplement) are also provided as a medium/gut-loader for our insects prior to feeding to our bats. Visit Wombaroo for more information on these wonderful products!
Fresh water is also a necessity daily as bats do enjoy, and require, their drinks of water.
Case Study: Gould’s Wattled Bats
This is a photograph of mum (middle) and twin male Gould’s Wattled Bats born in care.
These twin males were approximately 6 weeks of age in this photograph. The twins were born on 4 November 2007.
By approximately 3 months of age, these pups are weaned from their mother’s milk and are independent, out in the night sky catching their own insects.
For some excellent Resources on caring for orphaned pups, please refer to Basically Bats, Batworld Sanctuary and the other wonderful carers listed under the Links & Bat Books / Educational Brochures sections.
Releasing Microbats back into the Wild
Bats MUST be able to fly extremely well before being released back into the wild.
They must be eating well.
Artificial roost boxes are provided for those bats that are to be in care for a longer period so when the time comes for release, their new/alternative home can be fixed to a nice tall tree. These boxes need to be fixed at 4 metres or more to avoid predation by cats and foxes. They require a clear flight path.
Are jockeys using whips to steer and stay safe, or are they simply whipping tired horses?
These are questions that prompted Professor Paul McGreevy of the University of Sydney to research the use of whips in horse racing.
Paul is recognised by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons as a specialist in Veterinary Behavioural Medicine.
His research focuses on the behaviour and welfare of horses and dogs, and he is the author of six books and over 120 peer-reviewed articles on animal behaviour.
Paul’s award-winning research examining the use of whips in horse racing aims to further our awareness of the experience of horses, extending to a recent experiment capturing the thermographic effects of his own leg being hit with a padded whip.
As the Spring horse racing carnival hits its peak in Melbourne, Australia this week, we asked Paul to discuss his findings and what it means for horses, beyond the glamour and excitement of race day.
What happens when your scientific study results contradict all previous research in that area?
Science can be surprising, and for Dr Lisa Collins, researcher in Animal Health and Welfare Epidemiology at the University of Lincoln, UK, that’s part of the challenge – and the fun!
Lisa’s research focuses on the development and application of mathematical and statistical methods for the study of animal health and welfare in a wide range of species.
She has recently led three research projects to investigate the welfare of kennelled dogs.
This includes a 3-year study conducted in dog rehoming centres, where the aim was to develop a tool to assess Quality of Life based on a wide range of novel and traditional welfare indicators.
Lisa has been awarded a number of prizes for her work, including the 2014 British Science Association Charles Darwin award for excellence in science communication, and the 2010 Universities Federation for Animal Welfare’s Young Animal Welfare Scientist of the Year award.
In this episode, we speak with Lisa about her work comparing the welfare physiology and behaviour of pets dogs at home and in a boarding kennel environment, with some unexpected findings.
Sandra McCune holds a PhD that examined the temperament and welfare of caged cats as well as qualifications in vet nursing and zoology. She knows the answer to why cats like boxes, and the science behind it.
In her current role as the Scientific Leader for Human-Animal Interaction at the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, she manages a large portfolio of collaborative research projects.
These projects cover many aspects of human-animal interaction, in countries including US, UK, Austria, Germany, Sweden and Australia.
In addition to having written research papers and book chapters on several aspects of cat behaviour, cognition, welfare and nutrition, Sandra has lectured and advised many animal shelters, ethologists, animal welfarists, and groups of vets and vet nurses.
Sandra is sought out as a voice within industry and regularly speaks at international conferences on pet ownership issues and the bond between people and pets.
Today we’re talking to Sandra about pet cats, their incomplete domestication, our attachment to them and the behavioural links between wild big cats, and the cat in your home.
Kurt Kotrschal, Jon Day, Sandra McCune and Manuela Wedl (2013) Human and cat personalities: building the bond from both sides. Chapter 9 In: Dennis Turner and Pat Bateson (Editors) The domestic Cat: The biology of its behaviour. CUP, Cambridge
Sophie Constable, Education Officer at Animal Management in Rural and Remote Indigenous Communities (AMRRIC), has training as a veterinarian, in Indigenous education, and in public health.
She has worked in the field in pet education programs in urban, rural and remote Indigenous communities.
In this episode of Human Animal Science, we chat to Sophie about her research exploring the place of dogs in modern Indigenous communities in Australia and how best to promote the mutual health of dogs and communities.