This page is all about fruit bat photos. These bats, often called flying foxes, are the largest bats in the world. There are three species that inhabit Brisbane and the surrounding areas.
These are the black flying fox, the grey headed flying fox and the little red flying fox variety.
Australia's grey-headed species is one of the world's largest of the species, and it is the largest bat in Australia. These flying foxes can weigh up to 1 kg or 2.2 lb when they're fully grown.
They live in colonies that can number thousands of individuals so when they leave their roost each evening they seem to fill the sky.
Flying foxes inhabit most of Australia's eastern coast from Victoria, through new South Wales to part way up Queensland.
One of the largest colonies in Australia is in the Royal Botanical Gardens at Sydney where the colony is estimated to be around 20,000 bats.
Bats are so important to the health of forests and even ourselves, many of them eat their own weight in insects each night, that we should be more appreciative of them, but generally we're not.
Brisbane however, is doing something about it.
On Indooroopilly Island in the Brisbane River, there's a colony that is watched carefully by 'Bat Care Brisbane', a charity, which also organizes boat cruises to the island, from October to March.
On these cruises you get to watch the spectacular 'Flying Fox Flyout'. Check out our River Cruises page for companies that offer these cruises.
© Michael Zimmer | Flicker - Roosting Flying Foxes
One of the reasons the people of Brisbane have been less than enthusiastic about them, is the prevalence of the Hendra virus, a health issue in horses, which come from and is spread by flying foxes.
The Hendra virus has been occurring in horses, and is said to be directly related to the fruit bats that have been living in the trees above where these horses were grazing.
Sadly the virus has killed both horses and some people, including veterinary surgeons attending them, so its a matter of major concern to the population. Its very important that you don't touch them, both for yourself and for them as well.
© Gail Hampshire | Flicker - Grey Flying Fox (Cropped)
They're also called flying foxes and I think you can see why. Their faces, fur and coloring look very foxy. The look of these creatures is quite a sight, though a little eerie.
They evoke memories of too many vampire films, and people act accordingly.
This could be part of the reason why they're a protected species. Despite that status their numbers are falling in Australia and elsewhere around the world.
The bats get the name 'fruit bats' because that's what they eat, flowers, pollen, and fruit. Unfortunately this brings them into conflict with fruit growers and home gardeners.
You will see Australian fruit trees with strange protective devices hanging from their branches, to keep out fruit bats. Nets, which are used elsewhere to protect against birds, are too dangerous to use on bats who are often killed by netting.
© John Skewes | Flicker - Fruit Bat Family
This bat is coming in to 'land'. I've put land in quotation marks because they don't really land, they grab a passing branch and cling on.
It has to be the least elegant roosting strategy of any flying creature.
A word of caution, however, don't touch the bats, even if you see one on the ground in difficulty.
As I mentioned above, the bats around Queensland... including in the Brisbane area, do carry diseases. One of them is the Hendra virus, which can be transmitted to humans and is commonly deadly. So its best to call the bat rescue people.
If you'd like to see more Australian wildlife pictures visit our page Wildlife.