Friday, August 04, 2006

Val goes batty

We've discovered that 2 or 3 bats (flying foxes) are roosting in one of our trees. They make a terrible mess and are stripping the tree of berries and foliage. If we can't scare them away their buddies may join them and then there's a real problem. There were thousands in the Melbourne Botanical Gardens a few years ago and almost destroyed a whole section, making it off limits to visitors. Efforts were made to relocate them elsewhere but the damn things are choosing their own places. The crazy thing is, these creatures are protected, even though the population has expanded rapidly, and they're not even Victorians! (Thanks, Queenslanders!) So instead of getting rid of them when they were all in the one spot, the do-gooders called for protective measures and now the bats are spreading their evil presence all over and we are not allowed to get an exterminator. We are not amused.

So what to do? One of the techniques used to dislodge them from the Botanical Gardens was to create a noise at frequent intervals that would scare them off. I've been out there clapping my hands which does cause them to fly around for a while, but I thought of another weapon in my arsenal which might be more effective. I am using the "hand clacker" I bought for when I go to the footy, to keep from hurting my hands when celebrating a Carlton goal. (For those of you who want to make snide comments about Carlton goals, just remember that Fev is leading the competition in goalkicking). It's got a really powerful sound (as those sitting near me can attest), and the bats will hopefully get the message and NOT that I'm celebrating any of their antics. But I do look slightly batty.


Sue said...

Bats don't sound like anything one would want around.
At our local Home Depot the swallows became such a nuisance (swooping down and pecking at people) that they made recordings of Falcons. They play that recording over the loudspeakers and have done it for a couple years now. It scares the swallows away. At a nearby airbase they keep falcons around to scare the other birds off so they don't get sucked into the airplane engines.
(didn't mean to write a book here) :-)

Val said...

ANOTHER person who has changed their profile photo! Is this a trend? Will I too one day give up my bizarre photo that is oh-so-eye-catching?

Anyway, Sue, you have reminded me of what the Melbourne Zoo does to keep possums out. (We have them too.) They put toy owls in the trees and that apparently does the trick. Maybe I should try that.

Tammy said...

I would not like bats anywhere near me!!!
Clap away sister!!

Granny said...

We used to have the small fruit bats at home back in upstate New York. I wasn't frightened of them but they were a nuisance.

Thanks for your comment. My post was misleading and I just changed it. That's Rebecca (the youngest) with the kittens. Not everyone even looks at a post title. Come to think of it I don't always either.

Did I ever mention I like Australian rules football? It's such fun to watch especially the way the referee signals when a goal has been made.

We have Brother sewing machines and other products so I bet we have Brother printers as well. I'll check.

Alice said...

I've heard that the noise attacks on the fruit bats have been quite effective in the Botanic Gardens.

As you can't spend 24 hours a day out there clapping your little blue hands, perhaps you could record some rowdy music (nearly anything modern should do ... ok, ok, I'm sorry!). Record it for say a minute then have 2 or 3 minutes silence before another burst of 'noise'. If you can get hold of a continuous player, so much the better. Set it up outside, preferably away from your bedroom window (and the neighbours).

Not sure if it will work; it's just a suggestion.

John Cowart said...

Don't know if it would work with bats but it keeps birds out of our fig tree... Know those plaques with a singing fish on them, the ones that are activated by a motion sensor? Well, when the figs begin to get ripe, we hang two of these singing fish in the branches so that when a bird lights within range, the fish begins to wiggle and sing, "Down By The River".

The bigest proplem is having to explain to visitors why we have a singing fish hanging in our fig tree.... (It also keeps our grown kids too embarassed to visit us during fig season).

Val said...

In Dorset we have deer that wander down into gardens and eat everything in sight, lion poo keeps them away apparently. Just thought I would lob that into the comments pool, not knowing anything about flying foxes (apart from that I thought they looked cute!)

Kerri said...

Kylie and I saw those messy creatures in the botanical gardens in Sydney when we were there in 2003. I find it so frustrating when people get a bee in their bonnet to 'save' all the creatures, without respect to how much damage they can do. Not being able to get rid of pests in your own back yard is ridiculous. There has to be a happy medium!
Love you idea. Hope it works! Wish I could see you doing that....chuckle :)

Diane said...

Well, I just left a comment, but I think Demon Blogger just spontaneously ingested it!! LOL ;-)

So, once again, I'm here by way of Tammy, and I see my friends Sue and Pea are visitors here, too. :-)

Our bats here are insect eaters, so no problem with them, but the blackbirds are terrible! They make nasty messes with their droppings which can cause diseases, and their sheer collective weight breaks down limbs and whole trees. The noise will drive you insane when a flock descends on your neighborhood. Here we use firecrackers, shotguns and propane-powered noisemakers to scare them away.

I MUST say that I seriously covet all your pantry space. My cramped little apartment is not nearly big enough for my amount of STUFF. ;-)

Mountain Mama said...

I wonder if perhaps there is a larger bird that preys on bats? If you could find a way to encourage them into your yard that may help. Do cats eat these bats?
As far as these bats being a protected specie, fooey on that! If they don't pay rent, do away with them. You have a legal right to protect your property.

jellyhead said...

I have this mental image of you standing in your yard (perhaps in the Doona jacket?), in the middle of the night, feverishly clacking your 'automatic applauder'!!! And although I know in real life you are highly educated and eminently my mental image you do look a *teensy* bit batty!

John Cowart's idea is very appealing (not to mention amusing!).

Good luck with ridding your yard of the bats.

Val said...

Thanks everyone for all these wonderful ideas and suggestions! Some may not be practical, but at the least they provided us with entertainment, which fits in with my retirement motto: Try to have fun every day.

Meow said...

Good luck with the bats ... we have a couple in a tree out front, and they drop their pooh on the cars parked out there, and on the driveway and footpath ... eewww, it is worse than bird poo. Don't know what to do, though. You got some great suggestions !!
Take care, Meow

Tanya said...

We have that problem up here too (and I'll point out now that I'm NOT actually a Queenslander, even though I live here). In Charters Towers (an hour west of Townsville) they have the same problem. But once they're evicted from one home, they just settle elsewhere and annoy their new neighbours.

We have a few in the trees all over here. I can't hate them, despite their noise and destruction (and seeing so many of them electrocuted on the power lines) - they're just so cute.

DellaB said...

... and did you see Fev on Celebrity Family Feud?

we have flying foxes here too - they love the mango trees, and they eat the baby avocados- other than that they don't bother us too much - I don't think I'll need to go 'clacking' in my pj's.

PEA said...

Ick...I wouldn't be too fond of having bats in our trees either!! Like you say, if you don't rid of them, they will just keep multiplying! Did you ever think of trying a it where at night it fully lights up the trees they're in...bats don't like light so maybe that will make them move on.

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

Pea's solution to the bat problem sounds the easiest, if it works.
I might try John Cohart's singing fish in my cherry sounds fun and I might get more cherries.
We have little bats, but they are eating up insects like mosquitos, so I leave them alone because they don't make a mess and aren't a nuisence.

Kerri said...

As you say Val, I've just had my fun for this morning...reading some of these comments has had me laughing out loud :) John's method is very innovative :) I think Pea wins the prize for practicality though. And from the above post, I gather it worked to a degree. Great!
We have small bats which roost in the attic and make a mess. We used to occasionally get one in the house, but haven't lately, thank heavens. They fly around outside at night and feed on insects. With our mossie explosion this summer we can use all the help we can get!