Going Batty – in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney
Our holidays in New South Wales
Grey-headed Flying Foxes, a species of fruit bat, have formed a large colony in the heart of the Royal Botanic Gardens in the heart of Sydney.
I must say that the presence of these bats adds a certain interesting aspect to the wildlife of the gardens. The truth of the matter, however, is far different. This colony has caused enormous problems for the gardeners trying to protect the heritage trees of the Botanic Gardens. These trees were planted in the early days of settlement and make a very valuable and quite rare collection of plants. The Flying Foxes, by their sheer numbers, have been destroying these trees. Consequently, attempts are being made to discourage the bats from roosting there.
Flying foxes are large bats, weighing up to 1 kg, with a wing span which may exceed one metre. They sleep during the day and feed on pollen, nectar and fruit at night. In the wild they are important pollinators and seed dispersers of native trees. Seeds are discarded in the faeces or fall where the fruit is being eaten. These seeds germinate when conditions are suitable and ensure that dispersal occurs in a wide area. (Quoted from the Botanic Gardens Trust website).
For more information about the Flying Foxes and the struggle to protect the trees click here.