Hundreds of bats make Tenambit home
In less than two years hundreds of flying foxes have made a small Tenambit reserve their home, forcing residents to bear the brunt of their noise, smell and excrement.
The reserve is tucked between Natalie Close, David Avenue and the Anglican Care development on Collinson Street, where the colony lives amongst Camphor Laurel trees.
Resident Mary O’Riley said around 50 bats first appeared in March 2017, and now the colony has outgrown the Camphor Laurels and expanded into the gum trees which overhang her back fence.
“It was daily, more and more arriving,” she said.
“It’s such a small area for so many critters.”
The colony is now estimated to contain 400 to 500 bats which blanket neighbouring backyards with their excrement, while constantly making noise as the bats jostle for space. When they are most active through the night, Ms O’Riley, who lives with her family including teenage children, described the noise as deafening.
“There’s a burst at 11pm, and then they start again at 3:30am and go to dawn,” she said.
“It’s never quiet.”
Ms O’Riley said worse problems arise on extremely hot days when the bats simply cannot handle the heat and die, either still hanging in the trees, clinging to fences as they sought somewhere cooler, or falling and landing in backyards.
“They cooked alive – it was awful to watch,” she said.
“This isn’t healthy for the bats, or us.”
In April 2017 Ms O’Riley took the issue to the Office of Environment and Heritage who passed her on to Maitland City Council. Following a motion from Councillor Mitchell Griffin, Council will collect information about the colony and site to report back in December.
Cr Griffin said he didn’t realise just how big the colony was until he visited.
“I went and visited a couple of weeks ago expecting to only see a few, but I was absolutely gobsmacked by the number of bats that are there,” he said.
“I don’t think living with the problem is going to solve it.”
Ms O’Riley said that even if took time, she’d like to see a plan put into place.
“I’m not anti-bat, I feel sorry them; it’s my species that’s caused them to do it,” she said.
“Lorn got rid of them, so someone must be able to do something.
“I know there’s a lot of people who like bats, but they don’t live under them.”