The Central Highlands is once again busy with flying fox activity as the native protected species enters birthing season.
Flying foxes are nomadic animals, migrating regularly. However, when it comes time to have their young, they usually form a temporary roost.
General Manager Communities John McDougall said council are aware of several areas in the region where bats have returned recently.
‘It’s a timely reminder of the steps we can all take to prevent them sticking around too long, or taking up residence somewhere unwanted,’ he said.
‘Council regularly trims trees in popular roosting spots to try and make it less attractive to them and prevent them from landing. This is something you can do in your own backyard as well. It’s also a good idea to remove any fruit from your trees early, another major lure for the bats.’
Mr McDougall said dispersal activities weren’t always a viable option and often they proved unsuccessful in the long-term.
‘Dispersal activities require a state government permit, and we can only conduct these events on council land and under certain conditions,’ he said.
‘So when it comes to private property, it’s really up to the individual to prepare their patch and educate themselves about how to minimise the flying foxes impact.’
Mr McDougall said while it is challenging living near flying foxes, they play a critical role in maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem health in Australia.
‘We know at times it’s frustrating and inconvenient to call these noisy guys neighbours, but they are actually vital to our environment,’ he said.
‘Consuming fruit, nectar and blossoms, they travel up to 100 km a night, cross-pollinating and dispersing seeds. Without them around we wouldn’t have some of the incredible plant and animal species we do, like our eucalypts and koalas – that’s a fact.
‘It’s also a fact that the health risks associated with them are incredibly low, despite the myths out there.’
Last year, council and the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary partnered to produce a series of educational videos on flying foxes and how to live with them. These videos can be viewed on council’s website or YouTube channel.
Some top tips include:
- Bring your washing in before dusk.
- Park your cars under shelter.
- Keep doors and windows closed at dawn and dusk to reduce noise.
- Remove or cover fruit and flowers on trees on your property.
- Keep dogs and cats inside at night and away from roost sites. If they become bitten or scratched, contact your veterinarian for advice.
- Keep pet food and water indoors.
- Move quietly near roost sites to avoid disturbing the roost – they make more noise when disturbed.
If you see an injured bat, avoid contact and call council’s rangers on 1300 242 686.
You can find more information and helpful resources here.