Flying-foxes are nomadic animals that prefer to feed on native trees that produce fruit and nectar. They typically migrate across the eastern seaboard of Australia following the flowering season of paperbark and eucalypt forests and fruiting seasons of rainforests. Where food sources are reduced through climate change, or loss of habitat through human development, they may be forced to forage on introduced fruit or cultivated crops.
If you experience an individual or small group of flying-foxes feeding at night in your garden, this will likely occur until the tree has finished fruiting. If you do not want flying-foxes feeding in your backyard, you could remove the fruit manually or properly net the tree to make access for the flying-foxes difficult. There are simple, non-harmful deterrents which may be of assistance on your property, such as:
- Creating a visual/sound/smell barriers with fencing or hedges using plants that do not produce edible fruit or nectar-exuding flowers
- Planting a buffer of low vegetation such as shrubs, providing a screen between your yard and roosting / feeding trees
- Placing predator decoys (e.g. Owls) or reflective /shiny deterrents (e.g. CDs or aluminium foil strips) on verandahs or in trees
- Keeping food or habitat trees trimmed
- When landscaping, plant fruit or habitat trees away from your home (or don’t use these plants at all).
It should be noted that you should always check with your local council before installing fences, or removing or trimming trees if Flying-foxes are present, as there are laws governing how and when actions that could potentially disturb flying-foxes should occur.
Residents are not allowed to conduct flying-fox removal or dispersal activities, so these actions are only able to be used in locations prior to flying-fox camps establishing. If a camp has been established, you need to remember that Flying-foxes are extremely important native animals, and as they are a protected species, any activities that may result in the disturbance of a roosting flying-fox colony or individual flying-fox can result in prosecution under State or Federal legislation.