Flying foxes

Thousands of new residents have moved in near Weyba Esplanade and are just hanging around.

An existing Noosa Heads colony of what are thought to be red and black flying foxes has quadrupled in the past nine months, according to residents.

An Environmental Protection Agency spokesman said the bats had been attracted to the area by flowering native eucalyptus and melaleuca trees.

He said flying fox colonies fluctuated seasonally according to where food was available.

“The numbers of flying foxes at Weyba Creek will decrease as the food resources start to diminish, possibly within two to four weeks,” he said.

One Weyba Esplanade resident said the bats did not bother her but caused a bit of a ruckus about 4-5am when they returned from their night feeds.

The EPA spokesman said it was important people did not try to scare the bats away.

“Flying foxes are native to Australia and make a significant contribution to environmental health and the economy,” he said. “These animals are essential pollinators and seed dispersers for native forests.”

People are encouraged not to approach the bats because there is potential they could be carrying the Australian Bat Lyssa virus.

Queensland Health said the virus could be transmitted from bats to humans causing serious illness.

Since 1996, two people have died as a result of ABL infection after being bitten by bats.

Transmission of the virus is thought to be by a scratch or bite, or by being exposed to bat saliva through the eyes, nose or mouth.

“The best protection against being exposed to the virus is to avoid handling bats,” QH said.

More info: EPA 1300 130 372, WILVOS 5441 6200.

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