he Flying Fox is the best known fruit bat in Australia and is the biggest bat of them all. There are 7 species of fruit bat in Australia with some , including the Flying Fox, weighing over 1 kg.
The bats feed on nectar and pollen of banksias, paperbarks and eucalyptus. Some species fly 30 km. a night to feeding areas. There is a colony of fruit bats in Gordon in Sydney estimated to be 200,000 strong, and in summer thousands of bats can be seen flying over Sydney Harbour to the fruit trees at the Domain and Botanical Gardens.
Most are black in colour with a brightly coloured collar. Flying Foxes give birth to one baby per year in October - November and the babies cannot fly for the first 3 months of life, with the babies travelling attached to the mother bat.
The bat is a bane on the lives of orchardists especially after the NSW Government put a ban on shooting them (the bats, that is) in 1997. Some growers put netting over their trees while some have resorted to using sound to scare the bats away from the fruit trees.
Damage to fruit trees by bats has resulted in the high prices we pay for stone fruits such as plums, peaches and nectarines.
Sadly, a lady died in Queensland in December, 1998. She had been bitten by a fruit bat two years previous and had developed Lyssavirus, a type of rabies.