ABC Gardening Australia - GOING INTO BAT

ABC Gardening Australia - GOING INTO BAT

Jerry gets a lot of visitors at his home, which is on Yuggera country, including 530 different species of animal. But one of his favourites is Eric, the black flying fox (Pteropus alecto).  Many people are scared of flying foxes, also called fruit bats, or don’t like them feeding in their gardens, but they’re actually flying gardeners who are vitally important to plants.

To explain more about them, Alison Plant, a registered nurse who volunteers with Queensland’s Bat Conservation and Rescue group, has brought two rescued bats to Jerry’s house. Flying foxes are a keystone species, much like bees, as they are responsible for the pollination and seed dispersal of many of Australia’s native plants. Some rainforest species rely on them for seed dispersal.

How you can help

  1. Use safer netting: avoid green and black netting, which many animals can’t see, and don’t use netting that has holes big enough to stick a finger through - birds and bats can easily get stuck in this. Look for white netting with a fine weave instead, often sold as ‘hail guard’ netting. Individual bags around fruit helps too.
  2. Share your harvest: Bats will go for ripe fruit, often knocking it to the ground. If you put this in a bag and hang it in the tree, the bats will go for this and leave your less-ripe fruit alone.
  3. Plant the right species: Cocos palm seeds are poisonous for bats when unripe and the seed can stick in their throats. The animals can also get stuck in the palm sheath. Safer species to grow are the native Bangalow or Alexander palms.

Another great resource to help identify Cocos Palms is the Brisbane City Council weed identification tool for Cocos Palms here:

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