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Text and photos by Nick Baker, unless credited to others.
Copyright ゥ Ecology Asia 2024







Pouched Tomb Bat

Fig 1

Fig 2

Fig 3

Fig 4








Family : Emballonuridae
Species : Saccolaimus saccolaimus

Forearm Length : up to 7.8 cm
Weight : up to 60 grams

The Pouched Tomb Bat, or Pouch-bearing Bat, is a distinctive looking species which has adapted well to habitat disturbance and a semi-urban environment. Roosts have been found in rock crevices and tree holes, as well as abandoned buildings.

This bat typically has white to grey fur on the throat, belly and parts of the back, and partly white wings. In some specimens the grey fur on the dorsum may be dappled with white. In flight the long, narrow wings may appear translucent.

The 'pouch' in its name refers to a glandular pocket located under its chin (the gular pouch), which can emit a strong odour. Closely related species may have a small pocket located at the wrist (the radio-metacarpal pouch), which the Pouched Tomb Bat lacks.

In flight the echolocation call of this species, which comprises a constant frequency (CF) pulse of around 20-25 kHz, can sometimes be detected by the human ear. 

The Pouched Tomb Bat is widespread and ranges from India and Sri Lanka through Myanmar, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore to Sumatra, Java, Borneo and other Indonesian islands. The eastern extent of its range includes New Guinea and parts of northern Australia.

Fig 1 : Calling loudly whilst emerging from a roost inside a brick chimney.

Fig 2 : This example has extensive white fur not only on its throat, belly and flanks, but also on
its back.

Fig 3 :
Pair clinging to the brickwork of an abandoned building, Singapore.

Fig 4 : Flying high in the sky, just before dusk.  Note the translucent wings.

References : M2, M3