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Eric Shackle Writes: Flying Foxes Drove Me Batty

Eric Shackle introduces us to the world's largest bats.

Living in Sydney’s leafy North Shore suburb of Gordon 40 years ago, I used to enjoy sprawling in a deckchair on summer evenings, watching thousands of giant flying foxes flying low overhead. They were probably returning to their home in the city’s Royal Botanic Gardens.

Those flying foxes are the world’s largest bats, with wingspans about 1.5 metres (six feet) across. Known as grey-headed flying foxes, they are found only in Australia, mostly in rain forests from Ingham in Queensland to Adelaide in South Australia.

Many of those fascinating creatures that I watched had youngsters almost as large as their mothers clinging to them.

Writing of the Botanic Gardens reminds me that a few years ago the Gardens management had to scare them away from the area, as the bats had formed such a large colony that they were killing the trees they were clinging to.

A colony of flying foxes residing on the Macintyre River, behind the sporting complex at Inverell was the cause of this outage as well as a number of others in the area over recent weeks. The good news is the flying foxes eventually move on.

For details, see the Botanic Gardens report: http://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/welcome/royal_botanic_garden/gardens_and_domain/wildlife/flying-foxes/flying-fox_relocation

Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FK9tWT5pA4


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