Strange Australian Back Garden Beastie Sounds Part 2

Over the last couple of weeks my back garden has just got noisier and noisier. At times I think I must be living in the middle of the jungle. It’s only when I remind myself that Coles supermarket is just five minutes down the road that I realised I’d don’t.

Last night, as the noise became overwhelming, I decided to grab my camera and go out and explore the deepest, darkest depths of my own back garden.

I made many discoveries. For example, I found out that the night vision facility on my video camera is great if you like blurred and jumpy images and also that torch batteries fade and die when you least want them to.

I also discovered exactly what the noise was…..

Yes, it turns out that fruit bats or flying foxes have been feeding in my trees, and they are noisy eaters!

grey headed flying fox

A grey headed flying fox – cute isn’t he?

Image courtesy of pierre_pouliquin

The grey headed flying fox, that’s who we get around here, has a wingspan of up to 1.2 m and can weigh up to one and a half kilograms. It is the biggest of all the fruit bats and they eat (have a guess) fruit! And nectar and blossoms. And, if I’m not mistaken, my mangoes!

Are flying foxes an Australian Bad Thing? No, not in the slightest. They are more like giant bees in as much as they collect pollen dust onto their wings and furry bodies as they fly from tree to tree eating figs, koda berries and brush cherries. They then transfer this pollen to other trees. So that’s quite useful, keeps the bush growing.

Apparently they are at their noisiest between February and April. Well, I can’t wait!

So where did they hang out before they popped round to my house?

So why are fruit bats in the category of Australian bad things? Well, they’ve trespassed on my land for one, but there is another darker reason. In a roundabout way, the fruit bat can cause death. But I’ll save that for another post.

Update February 2016

I’ve just watched the top video again today and realised at 1:05 minutes, for a few seconds, you can hear the growl of a possum. If you don’t know what a possum’s growl sounds like, check out the original Strange Australian Back Garden Beastie Sounds.

Yes, it does get rather busy in my back garden at nighttime.

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{ 4 comments… add one }
  • sue ostroff September 21, 2016, 6:50 am | Link

    after listening to weirdie sounds from the trees at the bottom of my garden, and thinking they were some sort of night bird i was delighted to find your very amusing and informative article
    here on line this morning. The dawn has broken and the sound of one of “your garden beasties” had turned to the melodic bird chorus but i wanted to thank you for making me smile
    so early in the morning. i am quite delighted to have these “giant bees” around. nature is wonderful. thank you!

    • BobinOz September 21, 2016, 7:57 pm | Link

      Thank you Sue, glad to have helped you discover the source of the noise. If it’s anything like the visits I get in my garden, they will hang around for three or four weeks while they get what they need from your trees and then they’ll move on.

      Enjoy them while they are around. Cheers, Bob

  • Barbara Brindley February 20, 2016, 8:15 am | Link

    You say “They’ve trespassed on my land” … WRONG, we’ve trespassed on their land, we’ve dispersed them so they are losing habitat, and you talk of another “darker reason in a roundabout way that the fruit bat can cause death”. I can attest that there are now vaccines for both the Lyssavirus and the Hendra virus, ergo nobody need ever die from bats, so stop adding to the fear mongering. Only 3 people have died from the Lyssavirus in Australia in over 100 years, and for a horse to contract the Hendra virus there has to be another host or vector involved, ie. feral cats also carry the Hendra virus. Horses are stabled or live in paddocks where there are deadly spiders, snakes, feral cats etc. which could be a factor. However you are correct in that bats do not pass Hendra to people, plus it’s a fact that more people die from bee stings in Australia every year, approx 9 people per year, and from dog attacks, usually the family pet, than they do from bats, or from theme park rides, and there are no vaccines for those deaths. Bats mating season is March/April when they are noisier, and between October and December it is birthing time, but bats only have one pup per year which is why two of our main four species are vulnerable or threatened to extinction. Humans can’t survive without our pollinators, bats are the 3rd most vital creature to our survival, bees and birds are also in the top 10 most vital creatures for our survival, and they are also sadly declining in numbers. We get much of our oxygen from trees, but we are losing many of our forests around the world, also the ocean, and atmosphere comes from marine plants and plant-like organisms, which are suffering due to pollution. We need to coexist with our bats, bees and birds and yet they are dying out due to ignorance, pesticides, wind turbines, and loss of habitat.

    • BobinOz February 22, 2016, 5:32 pm | Link

      Barbara, I can see that bats are your thing, fair enough. But I think you’re comment is misplaced here. I try to inject humour into my writing and I have used the word trespass when referring to any creature that has wandered onto my land. I’ve written lots of articles about ‘trespassers’.

      I have also stressed the importance of bats for pollination and also clearly stated that bats not a bad thing, far from it. So if you are going to accuse people of media fear mongering, I suggest you pick on the right people in the first place otherwise nobody will listen.

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