Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodges
Tropical North Queensland, Australia.
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Large-eared Horseshoe-bat

Large-Eared Horseshoe-bat

Photo: C & D Frith
Australia's Cape York Peninsula

Large-eared Horseshoe-bat: Rhinolophus philippinensis

  • This is an insectivorous bat.

  • It has an elaborate nose-leaf, the U-shaped lower part looking like a horseshoe.

  • It has long ears, is grey-brown above, and slightly lighter below.

  • This small bat weighs only10-12g, has a head and body length of 62-65mm, tail length of 33-35mm and forearm length of 50-53mm.

Habitat and Distribution:

  • Lives in small caves and disused mines, preferably in warm, humid areas for daytime roosting, a factor that limits their distribution (in north-eastern Queensland).

  • It likes areas of dense vegetation such as closed canopy vine forest that allows only a little light through. It has also been seen feeding in open forest areas of Cape York Peninsula.

  • It is rare in Australia, but common in the Philippines, Kei Islands, Celebes, New Guinea and Timor.


  • It feeds on moths and other flying insects, detecting its prey by using ultrasonic 'sonar' calls that bounce off objects and return signals to their sensitive ears. It usually eats from from off the ground or close to it.

Social Behaviour:

  • This bat does not seem to form large colonies. Scattered individuals are found in caves, often in association with the Eastern Horseshoe-bat (a close relative).

  • It hangs from the ceiling (not against the wall as most species do) and only forms clusters when juveniles and young are left together while the adults are feeding.

Additional Information:

  • Its flight is similar to that of a butterfly due to its short broad wings. It hovers and darts among the foliage and close to the surface of water.
  • If by accident it lands in water, it can take off directly from the surface as long as the fur has not become waterlogged.
  • It has a very intense ultrasonic call, its pattern of cries consisting of long constant-frequency portions with a short modulated termination. The call is snorted through its nostrils and beamed directionally by the nose-leaf. This is an advantage as if the bat is flying through dense vegetation and eating a moth at the same time, it is still able to make its call. (Most other bats emit their calls through their mouth.)
  • It has large ears that move rhythmically but separately from a forward-pointing to a lateral direction. This sweeping motion is thought to increase the accuracy of its echolation and is often observed as one approaches a resting bat.

Chambers Wildlife Rainforest Lodges
Lake Eacham, Atherton Tablelands
Tropical North Queensland, Australia.
PH & Fax: 07 4095 3754 International: 61 7 4095 3754

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