Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Flying Foxes, 1/9/10

Flying Foxes

Something is luring flying foxes, or fruit bats, to Tasmania. One was found in a Sandy Bay garden in May, and another grey-headed flying fox has now been found dead on power lines on the Esplanade in Somerset. Nine sightings mostly in the North of the state have been reported since April. Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment senior zoologist Michael Driessen said it was rare to find the flying mammals in Tasmania. "But the flying fox, or megabat, is capable of flying the distance between Melbourne and Tasmania," Mr Driessen said. The state's first flying fox was found on King Island in 1938, and the last, before this year, was found on Flinders Island in 2004.

The Sandy Bay flying fox was the first to be found on the mainland of Tasmania in more than 50 years. The first was washed up at Woodbridge in 1946 and the second at Eaglehawk Neck in 1951. Including the Somerset flying fox, only four have been found on Tasmania's mainland. Tasmania's endemic bats, or microbats, weigh about 7g to 20g. A flying fox can weigh up to 1kg. "Flying foxes are striking creatures and, as with all wildlife, should be left untouched if found. People should not attempt to handle dead or alive ones if found," Mr Driessen said. People are asked to phone 6233 3751 if they find a flying fox. *Mercury

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