With female Black Flying-foxes giving birth and raising their young, we are again seeing an increase in numbers at several roosts around Mackay. The females elect to give birth in areas where there will be an abundant food supply while their young are dependent and learning to fly.
When first born, the young cling to their mothers belly fur as she flies out to feed at night. When they become a bit heavier, they are left to “creche” in the roost at night, with adult females often returning through the night to check on the creche, and to feed their own young. At about three months of age, the juveniles will begin to test their wings with short flights from the roost but continue to feed from their mother.
About four months after giving birth, the females become receptive to males and it is at this time, between juveniles learning to fly and males vying for the attention of females that the roost is at its noisiest and smelliest. There is no known risk to human health from the faeces of flying-foxes, or from the presence of these animals in nearby trees. Stress, such as that resulting from adverse weather conditions or frequent disturbance (from human activity or predators) can lower the immune system of the flying-foxes, increasing their susceptibility to transmissible diseases and therefore increasing the risk to humans.
Avoid flying-fox roosts during the day and if you see an animal caught, on barbed wire fencing or any other obstacle, or if your dog brings one to you, do not touch it.Throw a damp towel over it if possible and call a registered, immunised, wildlife carer who will collect the animal. If you are bitten or scratched in any way, seek medical attention immediately.
Australian Wildlife Rescue Service - 0447543268
Fauna Rescue Whitsundays - 49473389
Top: Black Flying Fox resting (James Niland from Flickr)
Centre: Grey-headed Flying Fox (Mike Lehmann from wikipedia)