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Flying-fox camps

Flying-Fox Camps

Camps are large aggregations of flying-foxes that provide resting habitat, protection from predators, sites of social interaction, information exchange and refuge during significant phases of their annual cycle, such as conception, birth and lactation. Camps may be occupied on a permanent, seasonal or irregular basis.  They provide access to food and are a stopover for migrating animals throughout their range.

Key factors associated with the usage of camps include:

  • Presence of forest structured riparian (waterway) vegetation with a microclimate suitable for flying-fox roosting.
  • Presence of significant and reliable food resources within nightly foraging distance (typically within 20 km radius of the camp).

The following information is aimed to help residences impacted by flying-foxes understand about when and why to expect peak disturbance e.g. noise.

Males initiate contact with females in January with peak conception occurring around March to April/May; this mating season represents the period of peak camp occupancy. Young (usually a single pup) are born six months later from September to November. Young are highly dependent on their mother for food and thermoregulation.  At four weeks of age, young are left at the camp during the night in a crèche until they begin foraging with their mother in January and February and are usually weaned by six months of age around March.

As such, the critical reproductive period for Grey-headed Flying-fox and Black Flying-fox is generally from August (when females are in final trimester) to the end of peak conception around April. Dependent pups are usually present from September to March (refer to Figure1).  This is the period when Council receives high level reported issues relating to community disturbance e.g. noise and smell.

What can residence do to help minimise flying-fox impacts?

The following information suggests some simple interim measures that residences can take to help minimise the disturbance when living close to a flying-fox camp:

    • When flying-foxes are stressed or frightened, they make a lot more noise. Colonies tend to be noisiest when they are disturbed by people and quietest when left alone. 
    • To prevent flying-fox droppings from spoiling clothes, take washing indoors prior to sunset. If washing is left out overnight, and if available install an undercover clothes lines e.g. under a veranda.
    • To protect fruit trees, OEH recommends the use of wildlife-friendly netting that is well secured and has a gap size of less than five millimetres. For more information click here 

For further information about flying-foxes or their management please contact Clare Manning Biodiversity Officer on 02 6626 7324.