Readers’ wildlife photos

Today we get to see a creature I love: flying foxes—courtesy of reader Duncan McCaskill. His notes are indented.

Prompted by your recent post of a Grey-headed Flying Fox squeaking, I dug into my archives to offer you some Flying Fox photos from various places in Australia.

Flying Foxes roost during the day in big colonies, and these days they have a strong preference to roost in towns and cities or other human habitation. In his book The New Nature, biologist Tim Low notes that there are 9 Flying Fox colonies in the city of Brisbane and none at all in the surrounding forest. Flying Fox numbers are in general decline and they are of conservation concern, but it is hard to convince the general public of that when they are so obvious and in large numbers in cities.

Grey-headed Flying Foxes  (Pteropus poliocephalus) reproducing in Canberra. The colony is in a central urban park. They mostly head for warmer climes in winter, but at least sometimes a few overwinter despite freezing overnight temperatures. I’m surprised they find enough fruit and blossoms to eat at that time of year.

A Grey-headed Flying Fox stretching its wings, also in Canberra.

Part of a large roost of Grey-headed Flying Foxes next to a golf course in suburban Brisbane:
More Grey-headed Flying Foxes, also in Brisbane:

A Black Flying Fox (Pteropus alecto) in the same suburban Brisbane roost:
Spectacled Flying Foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus) in Cairns, tropical north Queensland. They were roosting right in the centre of the city.
Little Red Flying Foxes (Pteropus scapulatus) at Nitmiluk (Katherine Gorge) in the Northern Territory. They were in a huge roost in the grounds of the small tourist facility. I didn’t try to count them, but it was easily in the multiple tens of thousands.
A female Little Red Flying Fox with young, at Nitmiluk.




  1. merilee
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Spectacular photos, Duncan!

  2. Diana MacPherson
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink


  3. Posted August 20, 2019 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Wonderful creatures and pictures! I wish I had them so visible where I live. We have bats but virtually never see them.

  4. merilee
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Probably a stupid question, but why don’t bats have problems with all the blood rushing to their head?

    • Doc Roseman
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

      Probably the same reason giraffes don’t “faint” when returning their heads to upright from drinking at a stream. Undoubtedly some mechanism related to maintaining cerebral blood flow/oxygenation in such circumstances.

    • Steve Gerrard
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

      I suppose for them, it is the normal way to be. They must wonder how we manage being upside down all the time with our heads pointed up!

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted August 20, 2019 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

        Google found this “Bats have one way valves in their arteries so prevent the blood from flowing backwards. This is why they are able to hang upside down with the blood rushing to their heads.”

        • rickflick
          Posted August 20, 2019 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

          I think mammals including humans also have one way valves in their veins and arteries, but probably in the opposite direction.

        • merilee
          Posted August 20, 2019 at 11:46 pm | Permalink


  5. Posted August 20, 2019 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I used to live near a colony of these little fellows. I love the way they look at you while they’re hanging there wrapped in their little Dracula cloaks.

  6. Debbie Coplan
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Very exciting to see! I can’t imagine sleeping standing on my head like that….

  7. Glenda Palmer
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful photos and notes about flying foxes. Thank you. So nice to be able to enjoy all the interesting animal offerings at this site. Always more to learn.

  8. Joe Dickinson
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    Great photos! I was blown away by flying foxes roosting in every tree over several city blocks in Cairns. Beats pigeons.

  9. rickflick
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    You have to love those pictures and the species!
    Thanks for submitting. My favorite is the last image with young.

  10. Mark R.
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    These flying fox photos are a real treat. Enjoyed these beautiful mammals.

  11. Posted August 20, 2019 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Super pictures of lovely animals – thanks.

  12. Posted August 20, 2019 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Wow! They are adorable. Every one. Thank you for sharing.

  13. Charles Sawicki
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Duncan, great photos!

  14. tjeales
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    I love these animals and I love sharing the city with them even though they’re smelly and noisy and messy and they destroy the trees when they set up a colony and their crap will eat right through the paint on your car…but just look at their cute faces d’awww.

  15. Ross Foley
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Excellent photos. Sixty-odd years ago in Brisbane, I hardly saw them. They used to fly in at night to “have a go” at our bananas when the fruit were getting near ripe and my dad had forgotten to put plastic bags over those bunches. Very noisy when he went out to chase them off, and he was fairly noisy about his lapse of memory too.

  16. Claudia Heilke
    Posted August 21, 2019 at 2:13 am | Permalink


  17. Stuart MacLeod
    Posted August 25, 2019 at 2:15 am | Permalink

    Hello Jerry

    Since you are a flying fox fan … you will be saddened to hear about the mass deaths of Spectacled Flying Foxes late last year in Cairns. I have included links to two reports related to the deaths, which they think is linked to climate change.

    I live in Ipswich, Queensland, and we had a large flying fox roost containing the three local species. Sadly our mayor wasn’t a fan and he seems to have somehow managed to thin the colony out … he is now facing jail time over corruption charges while in office … so clearly his issues were not limited to local wildlife issue.



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