Sunday, July 16, 2006
On Lytton Road there is a colony of fruit bats or flying foxes. Most people driving by don't see them, but thousands of them make their daytime roost in the mangroves near Dougboy Creek. It is hard to get a photo of them but two can be seen quite clearly hanging from one of the branches. When you drive by, you are likely to miss the sight, except on dusk. If you do stop your car (best to do on weekends when the traffic is quieter), you can hear the screetching and squabbling, and see them occasionally fly from one branch to another. The smell is something to hehold as well.
On dusk the sky is full - it is like a black cloud that ascends from the mangroves, does a few circuits and then they set out for the night in search of food. They love fruit trees and anyone with bananas or pawpaw will find traces of them the following day - bites taken out of the fruit, damaged beyond use, and their chewed remains on the ground below.
They also have trouble with their anal spincters - in fact they have none, so great trails of bat poo (guano) is left on houses, cars, paths etc.
For all that they are a protected species and for all the damage and inconvenience they cause, for the most part they are left alone.