Got questions about flying foxes? Here are some answers…

Oct 31, 2019

Where are the flying foxes?

Flying foxes are migratory and follow food sources.  Urban centres in the North Burnett offer opportunity for foraging and roosting.

  • Monto has approximately 50,000 little red flying foxes with several hundred grey-headed flying foxes with young and roosting in trees between Lister Street and Monto State High School.
  • Biggenden has approximately 150 grey-headed flying foxes with young and little red flying foxes roosting in trees adjacent Edward Street.
  • Coalstoun Lakes has approximately 600 grey-headed flying foxes with young and black flying foxes roosting in a reserve.
  • Gayndah has approximately 35,000 black flying foxes and little red flying foxes roosting in trees in Oakey Creek.
  • Mundubbera has approximately 4000 little red flying foxes roosting in trees adjacent to Mundubbera Saw Mill.

Why are flying-foxes protected?

Flying foxes play a crucial role in the environment by dispersing seeds and pollinating plants.  Although they evoke a range of emotional responses in the communities that they visit, they are protected by legislation and we need to ensure that we are compliant to this legislation.  Grey-headed flying foxes are considered an endangered species and are also protected by Australian law.

Why doesn’t Council move them from town?

Council, like everyone else, is required to comply with State and Australian laws.  Moving flying foxes is not an exact science with roosts often moving only a few hundred metres if at all.  If flying foxes become distressed or injured during any dispersal, Council is legally required to stop immediately.  At that point, flying foxes could be somewhere that would have greater impact, e.g. school. 

Can I still drink my tank water?

Concerns are often expressed about the impact on rainwater supplies from droppings when flying foxes are foraging at night and performing their usual flyover at dusk and dawn. Droppings from flying foxes present no different risk in comparison to other animals such as birds and possums.  A first flush system on rainwater collection is recommended.

What if there is a flying-fox on the ground or a sick one in my tree?

If you find a sick bat/flying fox contact Queensland Wildlife Carers Association on 4159 6431 or 0439 502 228 for assistance or advice.  Dead bats/flying foxes in public areas can be reported to Council on 1300 696 272 (1300 MY NBRC) or via email admin@northburnett.qld.gov.au.

If you remove a dead bat/flying fox from your property, please do not handle, instead pick it up using a spade wearing pierce-proof gloves, disposing of the body into a secure cardboard box or similar and then into your wheelie bin or local landfill. Do not make direct physical contact with the bat.

What do I do if I am bitten or scratched by a flying fox?

Although extremely rare, a small number of Bat/Flying Foxes can transmit Lyssavirus.  If scratched of bitten, seek urgent medical attention.

What is Council doing next?

Council staff are monitoring the numbers of flying foxes across the North Burnett. They will continue to periodically monitor both sites and if required, undertake management options in accordance with the relevant legislation.  For more information on flying foxes in Australia and living with flying foxes visit https://www.northburnett.qld.gov.au/flyingfoxes.

For any enquiries regarding flying foxes, please contact Council’s Environmental Services team on 1300 MY NBRC (1300 696 272).

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