How to built a bat max … well, a small enclosure for Flying Fox rehabilitation – great for juveniles as they grow up learning to fly or adults in short- and medium-term rehabilitation …

Ready-to-Use-Solution

For a super quick solution, take a look at the ‘CatNet’ enclosures here: Single Size 1.8m Freestanding Cat Enclosure (or do an internet search for similar cat enclosures, some suppliers may do custom-built as well)

PROS:

  • super quick installation, setup in 15 min and can be disassembled easily
  • sturdy yet hightweight enough to easily transport and move around
  • comes with fitted netting including zipper door
  • can be setup inside or outside (see cons for outside use)

CONS:

  • outside use needs additional snake proofing as netting is fairly large mesh size (about 1.8 x 1.8cm)
  • only comes in two sizes, either cube shaped 1.8m x 1.8m x 1.8m high (good for housing about 5-6 adult FFs) or larger rectangular size 3.6m x 1.8m x 1.8m high

Custom-Built

For a custom built ‘Bat Max’ to any size that fits your space, or a small outside aviary, a great system to use is square alluminium tubing with plastic connectors (just bump in with a mallet) to build the frame and then cover all sides including the bottom with small size metal wire mesh using roofing screws.

Frame

For the GoldCoast / Logan / Brisbane area, check out the ‘Ullrich Alluminum‘ stores in Burleigh and Carol Park – their system is called ‘cube block modular system’ – similar systems are available at Bunnings (but more expensive) or from other online vendors

  • the hollow alu panels are 2.5 cm cube, full length is 6 m (cost about $20-25 each) – Ullrich Aluminium have a cutting service that can cut them down to any size required or they can easily be cut with an angle grinder or even with a hand metal saw
  • the plastic connectors come in many different shapes (about $0.75-1 each) to support corners and extensions and just get bumped in with a mallet … can be disassembled again if needed, but connectors wear out with multiple uses
  • note: for extra stability, build modules of no larger than 1-2 m span (guesstimate, mine are 1.2 m and that works well and fits metal mesh of 1.2 m width) and connect to each other; for the roof try to have alu panel go all across without a connector, otherwise roof will sagg in time

    Some other links I have found:

    • https://www.shapealuminium.net.au/square-box-tube-joiners
    • https://www.aluminiumtc.com.au/qubelok/

    Door

    The entry door can be build with the ‘cube block’ system as well or just buy a cheap screen door at the hardware store.

    Metal Mesh

    For the metal wire mesh don’t go too large on mesh size or it won’t be snake proof … good choices are vermin/mouse mesh (6.5 mm mesh) or rat mesh (12 mm mesh) … as a ballpark: ok as long as you can’t poke your finger through … they usually come in 90 cm width or 1.2 m width on rolls. Recommendation is to cover all sides, even the floor to make it snake proof and prevent rodents from digging in. Available at Bunnings but more expensive, otherwise just check online for cheaper options … I bought mine online through Discount Landscape Supplies (a roll of 1.2 x 30m mouse mesh was about $250)

    Screws

    Use roofing screws about 20 cm apart. Need a special hexagon drill bit.

    Netting

    To clad the inside of the enclosure for bats to hang on, you can use trawler netting (best if UV stabilised) streched tight or plastic trellis. Look for ‘marine supply’ shops online or in your area – the one in Molindinar unfortunately closed down but there used to be another one in Brisbane … ABS Australian Boating Supllies!? Sometimes the netting only comes on large rolls, some suppliers do cutoffs per meter. The one I am using is 5 m wide and was about $12 per meter. (We may have some leftovers from building our BatsQLD flight aviary in MtNathan, check with president.) Another option is to buy the cat netting from CatNets:

    • https://catnets.com.au/products/low-vis-19mm-netting-by-the-metre

    Floor

    Coarse sand is my preference when used outside. For inside use or on patios, I swear by fleece blankets … they soak up liquid quite well, are lightweight, cheap to buy, wash easily at 60 degrees many times over and dry super quick!