Australia · freedom · gardening · mangoes

Batty About Bats!

“Birds and fruit bats prefer native fruit. If they have native fruit they’ll leave yours alone” ~ Jackie French

I’ve had bats on my brain for the last day, fruit bats (or flying foxes) to be precise.

I place the blame on Kathy, over at “Lake Superior Spirit”, who wrote a most interesting and entertaining blog post yesterday, “Bat Event Today”.

Here in Australia bats are a common sight, especially so during the summer months. We regularly spot them gliding through the air at night fall. No doubt they have just woken from a day of slumber, being nocturnal mammals, and are preparing to raid the juiciest fruit available from the trees of suburbia.

Many years ago, whilst living in Sydney, we grew a lovely big pawpaw tree just outside of our back door. Each night after dark, the local fruit bats would make a feast out of our beautifully ripening fruit. Not wishing to be greedy, we would occasionally remove a pawpaw from the tree during the day for our own use. There was plenty to share!

One night I managed to take a photo of our cute little batty friends, although you will have to look carefully to spot the little fellow, right in the centre of the photo, who just happened to look straight at me as I photographed him.

Fruit bat in the pawpaw tree

This really isn’t the best of photos. But not to worry…I searched the web and have come up with some real beauties, taken by those with both better cameras and better photography skills than my own.

This photo of a bat in flight I found at  http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au

Bat in flight

These beautiful bats were at http://www.candobetter.org. I can resist their cute little faces!

Beautiful Bats

This is a great photo, especially for my non Australian friends. It shows bats hanging from a Hills hoist, or clothes line. (I will write a post on our Aussie clothes lines; it’s quite an interesting story!)

Photo credit ~ theblurb.com.au

We have a large mango tree growing just outside our bedroom window and during last summer all of the local mango trees produced fruit in huge quantities, the likes of which we had never seen before. I wrote about my “Delightful Mangoes” and also added a recipe for “Green Mango Chutney” during last summer. I made so much chutney we are still enjoying it, and it is delicious!

Over a period of around two to three weeks last summer, every night at around midnight, we were awoken by the unmistakable squeaky sounds of multiple fruit bats, feasting away on the ripening mangoes just outside our window. These little guys really must have felt they had hit the jackpot, as they continued to party, night after night, constantly returning until the last ripe mango was devoured.

Each night, when their tummies were suitably filled they would all fly off together, with a massive whoosh of their wings. The following morning I would check with my husband to see if he had been awake to hear the flying elephants taking off! I’m yet to learn how such tiny creatures can create such a massive wing sound!

According to Australian author Jackie French, if the trees you plant in your garden produce fruit which is more appealing to the local wildlife, such as native fruit trees, they will leave the human-preferred varieties alone.

I’m sure Jackie French’s theory would apply in all countries. Simply find out what the local wildlife wish to munch on and supply it to them. They’ll leave your treasures alone!

Whilst searching through photo albums for my fruit bat photo, I discovered another old photo, again taken in Sydney, of a couple of regular visitors to our window sill. These birds are called Rainbow Lorikeets, and are simply beautiful, not only in their colours but also their friendly personalities.

Lorikeets in Sydney

Don’t forget to drop by Kathy’s site, “Lake Superior Spirit”. You’re sure to enjoy her bat story, just as I did. 🙂

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5 thoughts on “Batty About Bats!

  1. Great bat story. I love that they make such wing sound….
    Made some mango chutney with mangoes from trees in the neighborhood. Seems everyone has some kind of summer bounty to share or trade. My post would take photos…. so I have to redo….
    We have bats…. they eat the pesky mosquitoes here along with other things. They don’t seem to bother the citrus… I enjoy your posts, Jo. And the lorikeets are wonderful. I have seen them at a local wild life preserve. Such fun little rainbows.

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  2. Hello Lisa. Isn’t it great how more and more people are growing their own produce these days? There’s nothing quite like food freshly picked from the garden. I’m heading over to your site now to check out the Blue Cornmeal Pancakes…sound yummy! 🙂

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  3. I love bats. I did read Kathy’s post about bats but didn’t have time to comment.

    We watch the bats come out every evening during the warm months to feast on the insects around and over the pond. They come swooping over the top of the roof of the house, diving down the hillside to the pond. I’m always amazed at how fast they are and, like you, how loud a whooshing sound those little wings can make.

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  4. Joanne, I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to get on over here and thank you for this post! Another bat-lovin’ post! We have been watching them swoop and dive with much more interest the past few days. And now I’m not at all worried about one inadvertently getting tangled in my curls. 🙂 Good blog…still thinking about your mango and pawpaw trees and wishing to see them someday.

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