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Article: Fruit Bats up Close and Personal: I love them!

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Forum: Article: Fruit Bats up Close and PersonalReplies: 14, Views: 57
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KyWoods
Melbourne, KY
(Zone 6a)

February 12, 2009
5:19 AM

Post #6127222

This is my favorite animal in the nocturnal house at the Cincinnati Zoo! Thanks for a fascinating article about them.
tropicbreeze
noonamah
Australia

February 12, 2009
9:34 AM

Post #6127467

Relationships with flying foxes are usually of a love/hate nature. They're cute, fascinating, spreaders of rainforest trees, but they're noisy, smelly and quite destructive. We get colonies at times of up to 1 to 2 million individuals. Their preferred roost is above wet areas in tall green trees. This makes towns with well watered lawns and tall shade trees a favourite roosting place. Living on a fruit diet means they constantly have diarhoea. They stink, their roosts stink and their droppings takes the duco off cars below. Just their sheer numbers weigh down branches and break them. Trees are left as bare trunks with only the larger branches left and virtually leafless.

You can pick a flying fox colony from a long way by the smell, well before you hear their constant screeching. They feed by night, but are squabbling and screeching all day, it's hard to imagine they ever sleep. They can carry Lysa virus, deadly to humans. When they take off in the evening it's a spectacular sight, the sky blanketed out by thousands upon thousands of black silhouettes. And it's hard to keep up with removal of plants sprouting everywhere you don't want them, just because the flying foxes like their fruit. They're annoying with larger fruit like mangos. Often they'll only manage one bite and then go on to another fruit. And they eat them well before they ripen.

I do love them, but some days ...

The picture shows a helicopter being used to disperse flying foxes to get them to roost away from the town.

Thumbnail by tropicbreeze
Click the image for an enlarged view.

onewish1

onewish1
Denville, NJ
(Zone 6b)

February 12, 2009
1:15 PM

Post #6127720

I enjoyed the article & the joke.. thanks for the chuckle
LLMac
Mountain Grove, MO

February 12, 2009
1:43 PM

Post #6127812

Very interesting article. I'm glad I met your flying foxes, but I'm glad they don't live here. Tropicbreeze, it sounds like their fun factor is roughly equivalent to crows or pigeons here. But all of God's creatures were created for a purpose even if we don't always know what that purpose is.
plantgeek88
Louisville, KY

February 12, 2009
3:23 PM

Post #6128187

Thank you for a great article. Flying foxes are my favorite bats. I'd love to be that close to one, so I guess I'll have to visit the Cincinnatti Zoo. Thanks for the tip KyWoods.

I think what is destructive is a matter of perspective as well as how we have altered the balance of things. For instance, deer can overwhelm an area and cause their own demise when their population explodes because we force them into too small of an area, or remove natural predators.
And when trees are torn down, or limbs broken away, we do not always understand that perhaps this makes room for other things to grow into the sudden opening of light. Who knows, these new growths could be something very rare.
On the other hand, I would not want hundreds of creatures dribbling diarhea onto my head.
So, perhaps it is a matter of us learning to adapt better to our environment.
plantgeek88
Louisville, KY

February 12, 2009
4:22 PM

Post #6128471

Hi again. After thinking over my last post, I feel that to avoid any mis-interperatation, I want to clarify that my intention was not to fling red paint on anyone's fur coat.

If I had a dime for every time I said "@$%& squirrel" I'd be stinkin' rich.
So the, what to do Iif I want flowers?
I can simply not plant any.
I can attempt to outsmart the critters and accept any losses for my efforts.
I can plant ony things that squirrels don't like.
I can shoot every squirrel I see and have a big horkin' BBQ.
The problem with the last option is that usually, the bullet never stops and continues to ricochett perpetually.
We can never know if the removal of a species from the equation will be dire or if nature can scab over the absence. We cannot know this because we do not know everything.

My point is this: we have a responsability to adapt to circumstances by causing the least amount of interferance, or villifying anyone or anything.
I won't wear this point down.

Thanks again for a wonderful article. That pic really does look like a gargoyel face.
KyWoods
Melbourne, KY
(Zone 6a)

February 13, 2009
1:09 AM

Post #6130904

Wow, I'm glad we only have them inside the safety of the zoo! As fascinating as they are, I sure wouldn't want to live in their bathroom! Thanks for adding that interesting info, and the photo, too, Tropicbreeze.
Oh, and I'm praying for those affected by the horrible fires in Australia, both human and animals. I hope you are not in that area!
LarryR
South Amana, IA
(Zone 5a)

February 13, 2009
1:41 AM

Post #6131077

Thanks, everyone, for your kind comments and lively discussion. I love it!

As members of the human race, I think we're finally starting to get the fact that we live in and are part of a dynamic system. If you change something in such a system, there is always a consequence. We may not be aware of the change or of its consequence, but it's there nevertheless.

Although I didn't elaborate on the situation in my article, I did witness first-hand the destruction that fruit bats can wreak. I was enjoying a wonderful guided tour of the botanical garden in Sydney when our group came upon an area of trees that fruit bats had recently claimed as their roost. There weren't thousands of bats, but enough to cause a smell and, unfortunately, the imminent destruction of some rare and beautiful ancient trees. Pleas to the powers that be for permission to eradicate the bats from garden had fallen on deaf ears.
KyWoods
Melbourne, KY
(Zone 6a)

February 13, 2009
2:31 AM

Post #6131338

Hmmm...maybe they could be trained to eat destructive insects, instead. LOL, 'Bugbats'.
Or even destructive humans--'Thugbats'.
Sorry, I'm in a silly mood! ;p

This message was edited Feb 12, 2009 9:34 PM
LarryR
South Amana, IA
(Zone 5a)

February 13, 2009
6:25 AM

Post #6132064

...or as an Alice-in-Wonderland type baseball bat = bat bats. It's waay too late. Shoulda been in bed hours ago. Goodnight!
plantgeek88
Louisville, KY

February 13, 2009
2:38 PM

Post #6132801

LOL Y'all are too funny. How about hugbats as a cape when dressing up as Dracula. Now that's bad and I've had my sleep.

I hate to hear of the loss of anything rare. Beautiful and rare is a double whammy. I hope something can be done to help the situation without causing harm to anything.
LarryR, perhaps you may know if the area you spoke of is traditionaly where the bats have always roosted, or whether they have relocated for some reason, be it natural or due to human interferance. You mentioned that they had recently roosted there. Did humans pushed the bats from their homes.
I read that there are orchards of fruit trees grown in or near the bats territory. Is this the case? Thanks.
LarryR
South Amana, IA
(Zone 5a)

February 14, 2009
3:05 AM

Post #6135986

There were some recent reports from orchardists along the northern coast of Australia, west of Cains, that bats had pretty much devastated their crops. The really frustrating thing is that many times a bat will just take one bite out of a piece of fruit, before going on to the next, so the fruit is not eaten, but is ruined nevertheless.

What I recall from our guide's comments is that the fruit bats in the Sydney botanical gardens are fairly recent residents. However, the whole eastern coast of Australia is in the bat's natural range, so it's hard to know the exact reason for their presence in the garden. I suspect it's overpopulation or destruction of habitat or perhaps a combination of both.
LLMac
Mountain Grove, MO

February 14, 2009
12:42 PM

Post #6136889

Is there any chance it could be tied to the recent drought in Australia that we've heard about? Could they be biting a fruit just to get the juice because there's no water? I had a similar problem with (I think) squirrels in my tomatoes some years ago when it was extremely hot and dry. I started keeping a container of water some distance from my garden and it seemed like they left my tomatoes alone after that... But I know that even if this partially explains it, the problem is at an infinitely larger scale and not an easy one to solve.
plantgeek88
Louisville, KY

February 14, 2009
2:29 PM

Post #6137215

Thanks LarryR, for the info. Your suspicions are most likely right. This is usually the case.
And I'm sure that LLMac's suggestion may play into the situation as well.
I don't know if these bats drink from pools of water or if they get liquid only from the fruit they eat, but if the former is true, it would be interesting to see any results if LLMac's solution could be applied.

And perhaps growing fruit orchards in an area teeming with fruit bats is not a good idea.
But that is not likely to change. We do the same thing here, put out a buffet of sheep and cattle, then get very angry when villanous wolves come to diner.
I hope a solution that is beneficial to all concerned can be found. We all want to eat. To do so from the same table only requires proper manners.
tropicbreeze
noonamah
Australia

February 14, 2009
5:24 PM

Post #6137960

Flying Foxes range through northern and eastern Australia and shift their camps from time to time. They'll take over any area that's become more suitable, either having destroyed the old or the new being better for some other reason. They don't generally occur in the areas most affected by the current drought and anyway they're used to wet/dry season fluctuations. Orchardists don't like them, they want to make money and not feed Flying Foxes. But they're a protected specie (that's all Flying Fox species, there are several). The authorities recommend netting for fruit trees but the orchardists say it's too expensive. Although, the majority of orchardists still just ignore them and accept the losses. After all, there are lots of birds that are feeding on the fruit as well.

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Other Article: Fruit Bats up Close and Personal Threads you might be interested in:

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