Just in time for halloween: Bats

bats hanging like fruit

The animals that everyone hears about from Australia are things like koalas, wallabies and platypuses. But the real stars, as far as I’m concerned, are the bats. We saw a few bats in the zoos we went to, including ghost bats and flying foxes. But just walking along in the afternoon in the botanical gardens in Sydney, we looked up and happened to notice that what was hanging from the trees wasn’t leaves or fruit – it was bats. Hundreds of flying foxes. They chattered at each other and flew from one roost to another. While the echidnas were awfully cute bumbling along at the zoo, and the cockatoos were fun to watch at the park, it was the bats in the garden that stole the show.

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6 thoughts on “Just in time for halloween: Bats

  1. The bigger fruitbat colonies darken the sky when they’re heading back to their roosts in the afternoon. You can stand in North Sydney for half an hour watching a solid stream of them fly overhead.

    The bats are actually quite a problem for the Botanic Gardens; not only do they tend to crap on tourists, but they devastate the trees the live in. The only way to get rid of them is by killing them, though, which is politically impossible. So the Gardens have been bat-filled for years, now.

    The Gardens have also been heavily colonised by white ibis in recent years. You can find trees with dozens of ibis in the branches, a place where they really don’t seem to belong.

    They’re quite precise with their long beaks, and of course don’t have a lot of leverage, so it’s perfectly safe to hand-feed them. Whatever you feed them is also likely to be more healthy than what they would otherwise be eating out of the garbage bins!

    1. I got some pictures of the ibises roosting in Sydney as viewed from our hotel room. They struck me as rather ridiculous birds, especially when they landed on branches that could barely support their weight and so bounced up and down repeatedly. I’m sorry to hear the bats are a problem for the gardens as I enjoyed their presence immensely.

    1. You figured out we’d be going to Austin for Maker Faire? We used to live in Austin, so we’ve watched the bats there. We like bats, wherever we are! Don’t know if we’ll get any time to watch bats (Maker Faire absorbs a lot of attention) but one good place to watch bats hunting is in the stadium lights at UT. The bats are well-lit chasing the bugs attracted to the way-too-bright lights.

  2. I wander through the Domain (near the Botanic Gardens) every Wednesday evening and I never fail to stop and watch the fruit bats as they fly out for the night, it’s an amazing sight.

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