Statement of Management Intent for flying foxes
A collection of ideas and feedback from passionate residents has been bundled into several key themes in managing flying foxes in Isaac.
From education to roosting locations and human health and wellbeing to park access were among the suggestions that soared.
This community feedback helped inform a Statement of Management Intent (SOMI) for managing flying foxes.
It outlines the principle of ownership of land and where the responsibilities are on state, privately owned and Council land while acknowledging that all management actions undertaken at flying fox roosts would comply with prescribed methods.
This is outlined in the Code of Practice – Ecologically Sustainable Management of Flying-fox Roosts and within the legislative frame work of the Nature Conservation Act 1992.
The SOMI also outlines special circumstances when it comes to Council providing assistance to landholders to manage flying foxes on privately-owned land.
Due to the complex nature of flying fox management, Council will also consider a range of factors to determine if the flying foxes in any specific situation is viable for interventions on Council-owned land and when special circumstances exists.
From the 13 considerations, they include the proximity, number and species of the roosts, whether it is breeding season or rearing young, level of risk to human health, the cost to Council from management actions to the likelihood of relocation to another site which causes further community concern.
View Isaac Regional Council’s Statement of Management Intent.
Do you know what to do during Flying Fox season?
Read this helpful information sheet It’s Flying Fox Season – do you know what to do? (PDF, 3.94MB)
Flying foxes are little red flying foxes naturally migrate through our region from August to January and are known to establish temporary camps in residential areas. It’s important we know what to do as a community and as individuals to help manage flying fox migrations safely.
Please browse the range of helpful and specific information flyers about flying foxes and managing them in our residential areas. These can be found on the side of this page under Information Flyers.
About the flying fox
Flying foxes are native Australian mammals, with the black flying fox (Pteropus alecto), the grey-headed flying fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) and the little red flying fox (Pteropus scapulatus) found in the Isaac region.
While there are no permanent roosts in the Isaac region, flying foxes will roam the regions surrounding their roosts in search of their preferred foods, particularly fruits and blossoms.
Flying foxes are intelligent, social animals that live in large colonies comprised of individuals and family groups. They are nocturnal animals, sleeping during the day and flying out to feed at dusk.
As a native Australian animal, flying foxes are protected under the Nature Conservation Act 1992. Harming or killing flying foxes without a Damage Mitigation Permit (DMP) can attract a maximum penalty of a $100,000 fine or one year in prison under current Queensland legislation.
Why are flying foxes noisy?
Flying foxes are very social animals, using various calls as a form of communication. Flying foxes tend to make the most noise at dawn and dusk, when flying out to feed at night or returning to camp trees to sleep during the day.
Flying fox noise increases dramatically when animals are disturbed. During the day, flying foxes are generally quiet as they are nocturnal animals.
What about flying fox odour?
Flying foxes are very clean animals that are constantly grooming and cleaning themselves. However, flying foxes also communicate by scent. Odours are used to identify camp trees, each other, and also to attract mates. Mothers are able to locate their pups in crèche trees by their scent and calls.
What should I do about flying fox droppings?
Whilst unpleasant, flying fox droppings, or guano, pose no serious health hazard to humans. Guano is easily cleaned with water and soap, and is actually less corrosive than bird droppings. With regards to rainwater tanks, have a look at our rainwater tank fact sheet on the right.
What can residents do to deter flying foxes from backyards?
Isaac Regional Council advises residents that residents are not authorised to conduct removal or harassment activities. Simple, non-harmful deterrents may be of assistance, such as:
- Placing predator decoys (e.g. owls) on verandahs or in trees;
- Trimming food or habitat trees in your yard;
- Placing reflective or shiny deterrents (e.g. CDs or aluminium foil strips) in tree branches; or,
- When landscaping, plant fruit or habitat trees away from the home.
These actions are only able to be used in locations prior to flying fox camps establishing. If a camp has been established, residents are reminded that any activities that may result in the disturbance of a roosting flying fox colony or individual flying fox can result in prosecution under the Nature Conservation Act 1992.
Controlled harassment actions, known as dispersals, are only to be conducted by authorised personnel. For further information regarding the dispersal process, contact the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection or the Isaac Regional Council Environmental Services team.
The most important thing to remember is to avoid physical contact with flying foxes, as this poses health risks and must only be undertaken by a qualified and licensed professional.
What are the health hazards posed by flying foxes?
Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABLV)
ABLV is a virus that is similar to rabies that is carried by flying foxes. There are no obvious indicators that a flying fox is carrying the virus, therefore it is best to assume that any flying fox could be infected.
There is no known risk of contracting ABLV from flying foxes flying overhead, contact with flying fox urine or faeces or from partially eaten fruit. There is no significant risk of exposure from living, playing or walking near flying fox roosting areas. ABLV can only be contracted by being bitten or scratched by a carrier flying fox, or contact with mucous membranes such as the eyes or nose. If any of these occur, pre- and post-exposure vaccinations are available from Queensland Health.
Hendra virus is an influenza-like virus that humans can contract through physical contact with fluids and mucous membranes of infected horses. There has been one instance of a dog contracting the virus from an infected flying fox however this is not known to be transmissible to humans.
As a precautionary measure, horse owners should not feed or water horses beneath trees where flying foxes camp during the day or feed during the evening. Food and water troughs should be covered and horses should be kept away from flying fox camps and if possible kept under shelter at night. If Hendra virus is suspected contact a veterinarian as soon as possible, and avoid contact with the horse.
Avoiding contact with flying foxes and the use of deterrents in and around the home are the best strategies to further reduce the risk of contracting Hendra virus or ABLV.
What should I do if I have been bitten or scratched by a flying fox?
If you have been bitten or scratched by a flying fox, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Dial 000 (112 from mobile phones) and follow direction.
Queensland Health 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84)
Removing dead flying foxes
As the landowner, you are able to remove the dead flying fox yourself if you follow these simple safety steps:
- Do not directly touch the flying fox
- Make sure the flying fox is dead (if the animal is alive, do not touch and contact 1300 ANIMAL to speak to a wildlife carer)
- Wear thick gloves and use a shovel or tongs to remove the flying fox and place it in a plastic bag
- You can dispose of the flying fox in the plastic bag in your general rubbish wheelie bin, or transfer it to your local landfill
For detailed information regarding flying foxes and human health, visit the Queensland Health website.
Reporting Sick or Injured Bats
Department of Environment and Heritage Protection/RSPCA – 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625)
If you have concerns about your livestock or pets, speak to your local veterinarian for further advice.
If you have any queries, please contact Isaac Regional Council's Environmental Services division - 1300 ISAACS (1300 47 22 27).
State Government Websites
Queensland Health: Hendra
Department of Environment and Heritage Protection: Flying Foxes
Department of Agriculture and Fisheries: Flying Foxes and Hendra Virus