African sheath-tailed bat

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African sheath-tailed bat
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Chiroptera
Family: Emballonuridae
Genus: Coleura
Species: C. afra
Binomial name
Coleura afra
(Peters, 1852)
African Sheath-Tailed Bat area.png
African sheath-tailed bat range

The African sheath-tailed bat (Coleura afra) is a species of sac-winged bat in the family Emballonuridae. It is found in Angola, Benin, Central African Republic, Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Yemen.[1] Its natural habitats are dry savanna, subarctic shrubland, subtropical or tropical dry shrubland, caves, and hot deserts. It is threatened by habitat loss although still ranked as 'least concern'.[1]

A young African sheath-tailed bat is called a pup, and a group is called a colony or a cloud.[2]


C. afra are 10-12g with females slightly larger than males. Forearm lengths range from 45 to 55mm. The fur is a deep brown but slightly lighter on the belly. The nose is pointed cone shape and the rhinarium is black and naked.[3]


C. afra are insectivorous bats feeding on a range of insects but particularly coleoptera and lepidoptera.[4] Feeding is strongly dependent on the season with much greater feeding activity occurring during the rainy seasons.[4]

Group Structure[edit]

C. afra lives in caverns in groups exceeding 50,000. Within colonies there is social structure with harems of around 20 females being attended usually by a single male. While female juveniles will sometimes remain within the cluster they were born into, young males will disperse and join bachelor clusters.[4]


  1. ^ a b c Mickleburgh, S.; Hutson, A. M.; Racey, P. A.; Cardiff, S. & Bergmans, W. (2008). "Coleura afra". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2010.4. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 18 May 2011. 
  2. ^ The Website of Everything
  3. ^ Dunlop, Jenna (1997). Mammalian Species (PDF). American Society of Mammalogists. p. 566. 
  4. ^ a b c McWilliam, Andrew (1987). The reproductive and social biology of Coleura afra in a seasonal environment. Recent advances in the study of bats. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 281–298. ISBN 0521321603.