Flying foxes are the largest-known bat species in the world. You can identify these mammals by their faces, which typically resemble that of a fox, long wings, unique behavior, and strong claws. Flying foxes also produce a very distinct body odor, which actually helps them communicate with others in the roost. They also have contrasting colors, which allow them to camouflage themselves. One of the more unique characteristics of flying foxes is that they have exceptionally large wings that can measure up to five feet when they’re fully displayed.
Flying foxes are likely nomadic
Recently, researchers made a stunning discovery about these creatures. The study found that flying foxes are, in fact, nomadic, and they travel anywhere between 1,427 and 6,073 kilometers every year. The research tracked one flying fox traveling around 12,337 kilometers between Melbourne and Queensland, Australia.
Dr. Justin Walbergen, Lead Researcher, Associate Professor of Animal Ecology at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment at Western Sydney University, said, “We found that individual flying foxes can literally travel thousands of kilometers a year, criss-crossing their entire range and sometimes multiple times.”
Movements don’t need a seasonal signal
The study also found that there was usually no seasonal signal to their migratory movements. Dr. Walbergen, who is the President of the Australasian Bat Society, stated that these bats are one of the most mobile mammals on Earth. He added that flying foxes were “even in the same league as some migratory birds,” which travel long distances every year.
By making use of satellite tracking technology, the research studied the broadscale movement of 201 flying foxes across Australia. Researchers tracked three species of flying foxes over a period of 5 years using 755 roost sites. Over two-thirds of these flying fox roosts were unknown in the past. The study showed that the little red flying fox roost traveled the farthest while the black flying fox roost moved around the least.
Local government reacts
The Local Government Association of Queensland believes that the management of roosts can affect communities across the region. Given that numerous flying fox roosts have been spotted locally, the Local Government Association of Queensland has stated that more needs to be done to understand the population trends and location of flying foxes, so they don’t impact communities.
Greg Hallam, the Chief Executive of the Local Government Association of Queensland, said, “While councils are not required to manage flying fox roosts, they can choose to act in response to community concerns.”