Photo of the Day: Flying Foxes

At the botanical garden in Sydney, Australia, near the famous opera house.

(I will be back from a trip to California and Oregon on August 11 – until then I’m sharing a few photos of previous travels.)

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1 thought on “Photo of the Day: Flying Foxes”

  1. The flying foxes are still in the Sydney Botanic Gardens. The daughter of a friend of mine works there as a horticulturalist, and the staff have been trying for ages to get rid of them, as they have been destroying rare trees.

    I’m afraid my sympathies are with the flying foxes. We’ve destroyed so much of their habitat that they often go where they are not wanted (orchards, parks in towns near people’s houses), and their noisy, smelly lives offend people. Plus people here are paranoid about the Australian bat lyssavirus, a rabies-like virus. We don’t have rabies in Australia – yet! It is very, very rare for a person to catch the bat lyssavirus, and I think it’s only a couple of bat carers who have been scratched or bitten and died from it. But unfortunately that doesn’t endear people to these bats, especially around schools.

    We have a lot in our area, and I adore them. I hear them at night a lot. They are the only wildlife where caring for orphans would fit in with my lifestyle. I wouldn’t consider rearing orphaned joeys or possums as they need 24-hour care and 4-hour feeding, and I like my sleep too much. I turn into the Incredible Hulk (mentally, not physically!) without it. But baby bats are used to being parked by their mums during the night. A friend who cares for orphan bats with the Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers showed me her charges, hung upside down (the right way up for them) on a clothes airer. She let me feed one with a bottle of special formula. Their wings are the softest leather imaginable, even softer than stingray skin (and that’s pretty soft!). My little one practically got drowned until I mastered the art of squeezing the bottle just so – lots of sneezing and shaking of head. So sweet.

    He and his chums would be hand-fed for a few months before being shifted to a special aviary near a natural camp (the name for the place that the bats roost), then fed and ignored as much as possible so they don’t get to rely on humans feeding them. Then after a certain time, the door is opened and they leave when ready. It’s not a perfect solution, but it’s the least we can do for them.

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