Little reds following Santa for their holiday migration
  • Thursday 19 December 2019

A little red flying-fox up close. Photo by Julie O'Connor.  

As Rudolph and his fellow flyers gear up for their flight south, so too do the little red flying-foxes.

These nomadic little red flying-foxes, a species that is vital to the pollination of local eucalypts, can generally be spotted visiting the Sunshine Coast from around Christmas to Easter next year.

Environment Portfolio Councillor Jenny McKay said Sunshine Coast Council expected to see more of these smaller fruit bats through the summer for their regular holiday visit.

“Little red flying-foxes travel from the northern and western areas of Queensland to feed on our beautiful local flowering plants, such as eucalypts, bloodwoods and myrtles,” Cr McKay said.

“They are night-time pollinators, making flying-foxes essential to many of our local eucalypts, whose flowers only open at night.

“By spreading eucalypt seeds around our coast and greater Queensland, these little reds are increasing koala habitat and keeping our native forests genetically healthy.”

Flying-fox management activities, which is critical in times of extreme weather, is possible thanks to the Environment Levy Program and focused on protecting and enhancing the region’s valuable natural assets and wildlife.

Council Conservation Officer Tyron de Kauwe said that with the drought and recent heat events, council continues to regularly monitor known roost sites for both resident and visiting flying-foxes.

“Due to the drought conditions in western Queensland and therefore a scarcity of food resources, more little reds are likely heading to our coast’s food rich areas,” Mr de Kauwe said.

“These small reddish-brown mammals have been spotted in some of the monitored local roosts over the past week.

“The little reds are usually mating or pregnant this time of year and tend to be more vocal than our resident black and grey-headed flying-foxes, so the roosts may be a bit noisier as they argue over territory in the trees.

“Our nomadic visitors are generally only on the Sunshine Coast for a short time of eight to twelve weeks and should return to their maternity camps in north and western Queensland by late March.

“With the recent hot weather, we’re also keeping an eye out for the grey-headed and black flying-foxes.

“We highly value all flying-foxes as nature’s best nocturnal pollinators and critical members of our forests’ biodiversity.

“We remind residents and visitors to leave them to go about their day – and nighttime – routines, helping rehabilitate primary habitat for koalas and other native animals.”

If you find an injured or dead flying-fox, please do not touch or attempt to handle the animal. Please contact RSPCA Queensland on 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625) so a trained, vaccinated rescuer can assist.

For further information about flying-foxes on the Sunshine Coast, please visit council’s website.