Just Wing it and Register for Bat Camp These School Holidays!
On the 9th and 10th of October all kiddos are invited to come and marvel at one of Adelaide’s most conspicuous animals, the Grey-headed Flying-fox! Local bat experts will delight your kids (ages 5-12) with hands-on creative activities that will highlight the miraculous story of this marvellous mammal.
Activities will include visiting the bats at their roost, kite-making, drawing / painting, peering through microscopes in the Bat Cave and even a demonstration with live animals by the Adelaide Zoo!
Morning and afternoon sessions available daily: 9:30 am to 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm
This Bat Camp extravaganza will take place at the Santos Conservation Centre, adjacent to the Adelaide Zoo entrance in Botanic Park.
Want to learn more about our fury friends? Keep reading more below!
Is it a gravity-defying dog? Is it a furry pheasant? No, it’s a flying fox! The Grey-headed Flying Fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) has been a guest in Adelaide for nearly 10 years now. But why is it special, where does it come from and why has it chosen to call Adelaide home?
We are lucky to have the Grey-headed Flying Foxes as our guests here in Adelaide, as they are not as common as they once were and normally only live along the east coast of Australia. They are in fact Australia’s largest bat, can weigh up to one kilogram and take flight on wings up to one metre across.
Even though they are not native to the area, they are very important for ecological systems as they pollinate and spread the seed of over 100 native plants, helping our natural areas regenerate effectively into the future. They have joined eight native microbats that already live in and around the city.
Many Adelaide residents may have also seen furry flying foxes feasting on fleshy fruit (what a tongue- twister!) from trees in their own backyards. If you’re lucky enough to have had one of these up-close encounters (they’re normally quite shy), you can rest assured that these flying foxes won’t eat all the apples and oranges of your hard-earned labour. They’ll only eat foreign fruits when native food sources (like pollen, nectar and fruit of native plants) are in scarce supply. So why not plant more native flowering plants?
Caring for our charismatic cousins
Adelaide saw its first flying foxes arrive in 2010 in their search for other places to live. Roost disturbance (from logging and agriculture), climate change, urban sprawl and drought in eastern states have been factors leading to their displacement.
Adelaide offers the flying foxes a comfortable climate, access to food and water, and many tall trees in which they can roost. State Government Agencies, the City of Adelaide, private institutions and NGOs are working together to make sure our gregarious guest is comfortable for as long as it wants to call Adelaide home.
How can we find out more about them?
Since their arrival, the Grey-headed Flying Foxes have been regular and welcome guests at some of Adelaide’s most important annual events, including WOMADelaide, Arts Festival and Fringe Festival activities in the east end of the city.
But you don’t need to wait for festival season to have a look – take your children and a pair of binoculars to get a great up-close view of them in the western side of Botanic Park, south-west of Plane Tree Drive. Just be sure to avoid standing directly under them – you might be in for an unpleasant ‘gift’ from above!
Flying fox fun!
Keep your eyes and ears tuned, as later this year the City of Adelaide is running fun and educational activities with partners including the Adelaide Zoo and South Australian Museum in which you and your family will be able to get ‘hands-on’ in learning more about this incredible winged mammal and their fascinating fable of survival!
Bat Camp – 9 & 10 October 2019, 9:30 am to 12 pm or 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm
For more information visit: cityofadelaide.com/GHFlyingFox