My baby bats are now in the wild and are hopefully doing really well. They were orphans from the heat we had last year. This is due to us humans not leaving them suitable habitat to live in so when the temperatures get too high, they don't have enough tree coverage and will drop from the trees with their babies.
Flying foxes are really important for pollination and seed dispersal so they really need our help!!
"But bees pollinate, why do we need bats??" - I hear you say
Well yes bees pollinate but only during the day where as bats pollinate at night. There are some australian native plants that only open their blossoms at night and is therefore why bats are super dooper important! They also disperse seeds from their faeces over very long distances which helps to keep forests healthy. No bats, no healthy happy forests!!
"But bats are diseased, eww...." - I also hear you say
Well yes bats have diseases but so does your cat, horse or pet lizard...
The media has made it out that these diseases are a lot more of a risk than they actually are.
The two diseases you might have heard all about is:
- Australian bat lyssavirus
- Hendra virus
Now Australian bat lyssavirus is a deadly virus but it has only killed 3 people since discovery. The virus is transmitted from a bat scratching or biting you, however there is a vaccination! If you ever come into an situation where you have been in contact with a bat (a flying fox (as you will see today) or a microbat (tiny little bats that eat insects that are also super important!) then get yourself to a hospital and get the vaccination!! There is literally no risk of this virus if you never touch a bat.
Now Hendra virus. You can't get this virus directly from a bat, only from horses. Now the horse gets the virus from bats, but how is still debatable. Hendra virus can be deadly to horses and humans but it's still a very rare virus. There's a vaccination available for horses and horse owners can take basic steps such as covering water and food troughs as well as trimming trees away from horse paddocks.
I hope you learnt some stuff about flying foxes! Listen to their chatter, it's my favourite sound in the world!