Flying Foxes hanging from a tree

Developing an approach for managing flying foxes

During September and October 2018, we sought feedback from the community on how to sustainably manage flying fox colonies in our region. Consultation closed on Friday 26 October.

We held info share sessions in Dysart, Middlemount, Clermont, Moranbah, Glenden, Nebo, St Lawrence and Carmila and gathered feedback through an online survey.

Feedback will help us develop a Statement of Management Intent (SOMI), which will guide our future management of flying fox colonies.

Next steps

In November 2018 we will share a summary of what we heard from the community through the info share sessions and survey. We will also provide an update on when the Statement of Management Intent for flying foxes is expected to be presented at a Council Meeting.

Find out more

If you have any questions about the consultation, please call Council's Customer Service Centre on
1300 ISAACS (1300 47 22 27).

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.

Information Flyers

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 hanging upside down in tree

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

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:

  1. Do not directly touch the flying fox
  2. 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)
  3. Wear thick gloves and use a shovel or tongs to remove the flying fox and place it in a plastic bag
  4. 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.

Contact Information

Reporting Sick or Injured Bats

Department of Environment and Heritage Protection/RSPCA – 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625)

Domestic Animals

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

Flying Fox Consultation Flying Fox Consultation

Thank you to everyone for taking part in our managing flying foxes survey and info share sessions in September and October. We’ve reached more than 28,000 social media users through our official channels!  Time flies when suggestions soar.

Latest flying fox news Latest flying fox news

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Flying fox colony in Moranbah - Update #4

Isaac Regional Council continues to monitor the changing population of the flying fox colony in backyards at Belshore Street.

Flying fox numbers in Moranbah is currently 2,500 which is a about a 90% reduction from 25,000 in early November.

Council reminds residents that they are encouraged to undertake proactive vegetation management at properties to make their backyards unattractive to flying foxes. The best way to do this is to trim or remove potential camp trees, commonly mature Mango, Fig, or Poinciana, little red flying foxes can also camp in eucalypts, palm and other similar trees.

Over the past five years, Council has spent more than $1.1 million on managing flying foxes. This money has been spent on expert ecology opinion in responding to community concerns, fencing to isolate flying fox roosts, activities to disperse flying foxes away from controversial areas and communication materials to inform neighbourhoods.

Dispersal, a costly and resource-intensive exercise, does not always guarantee the desired outcome as these are wild animals with unpredictable behaviour. Council spent $150,000 over four rounds of early morning dispersal activities in backyards in Moranbah this time last year following community expectations however the effect was unsuccessful.

Council reminds residents who use self-dispersing methods, this will likely fragment the roost and cause more issues in the community. Residents are reminded that it is against the law to harm or disturb a flying fox roost, and unplanned and unauthorised actions can impact on you, your neighbours and your community.

Flying foxes are a protected species under the Nature Conservation Act 1992. It is against the law to harm or disturb an established roost.

This includes destroying or modifying a tree once a roost is established. Disturbing flying foxes that are resting during the day stresses the flying foxes. It increases their susceptibility to disease and reduces their ability to migrate on from townships. Visit for comprehensive information on flying foxes. If you require further information please contact Council’s Customer Service Centre available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 1300 ISAACS (1300 472 227).

Gary Stevenson PSM
Chief Executive Officer

12 December 2018