So what's the skinny?
Another animal on the IUCN
's rare mammal list
, the Seychelles sheath
) is endemic
to the Seychelles Islands
. Very little is known about this mammal
, but with less than 50 adult sheath-tailed bats in existence (32, as of 2003), it was placed on the IUCN's Critically Endangered
list in 1996. They are reddish-brown with paler underparts, have a membrane
that slides between the hind legs and can be placed over the tail (hence the “sheath-tailed” part). This allows for precise maneuver
ing between trees. Male sheath-tailed bats weigh about 0.36 ounces (10 g), and females that have given birth weigh about 0.4 ounces (11 g), with both genders having an average head and body length of two to two and a half inches (55 to 65 mm).
What does it eat? And why is it endangered?
The Seychelles sheath-tailed bat is insectivorous, which means that it feeds mainly on insects and spiders.
The exact reasons for the decline of the sheath-tailed bat are unknown, though it is suspected that the barn owl (Tyto alba), which was introduced to the Seychelles Islands in 1949, may hold the blame.
What is known about their habitat, breeding habits, and social behavior?
Again, not a lot is known about the Seychelles sheath-tailed bat, but what is known is that bat colonies roost in clefts in the mountainside, facing the sea and a more or less northerly direction, and press their underbellies to the cleft wall, rather than hanging upside down, to root. The colonies are divided into harems, with multiple females and their young (which are born during the rainy season of November to December) following a single male.