Spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus)
Spectacled flying foxes are the main species we care for at the Bat Hospital. Most come in as as result of tick paralysis, some from entanglement on barbed wire fences, and a few from entanglement in netting over backyard fruit trees. Since 1990 many thousands have been rescued and released, over 4000 of them orphans. When handled and housed correctly they are usually remarkably calm to rescue and rehabilitate.
Spectacled flying foxes were up-listed by the federal government in 2019 from vulnerable to endangered. Many believe they are eligible for further up-listing to critically endangered following a severe heat stress event in late November 2018. Research led by Dr David Westcott of CSIRO has contributed greatly to knowledge of this species over many years, including population data. A recovery team for the species has been established and its first meeting was in August 2020.
Flying foxes or Bats
All bats are bats! Bats can be divided into 2 groups based on echolocation – microbats and megabats. They can also be divided based on genetics into yinptero-chiroptera and yango-chiroptera. Chiroptera is the Order to which all bats belong, it means hand-wing. (Chiro, like chiropractor means hand; ptero, like pterosaur, means wing).
Flying foxes are bats that do not use echolocation, have large eyes and eat fruit and nectar. They can be called bats, flying foxes, fruitbat, megabats or yinptero-chiroptera. Some prefer to avoid the term fruitbat as it doesn’t acknowledge that a huge part of their diet is nectar and pollen.