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The Bats of Melbourne

Updated on February 22, 2017

My Neighbourhood Bats

Each evening I stand on my porch to watch thousands of bats leave their roost to feed on nectar and fruit in the suburbs. They pass so close I can hear their wings beat.

During the day I walk along the creek to the river and marvel at the sheer numbers of these strange creatures hanging in the trees on the riverbank. How can they sleep upside down?

weekend notes

Bats are a vulnerable species

There are lots of Australian bats, the ones who live on the river behind me are the Grey-headed Flying-fox (Pteropus poliocephalus), or fruit bats.

These little mammals are a nationally vulnerable species and Melbourne is an important place for them. Come for a short stroll from my house and you'll see them,

Bats pong!

There's no way to say this gently

We take the telescope down to the river so the grandkids can look at the bats close up.

The kids always pull a face as the we get closer to the sleeping bats, the smell is pretty strong. Bats pong! is what the children say, but I don't mind the smell at all. It's an animal smell, musky and gamey, with a strong undercurrent of eucalyptus.

Get your own Bat

Ganz Webkinz Bat 8.5" Plush, Black
Ganz Webkinz Bat 8.5" Plush, Black

Webkinz bats come with a special Internet code so you can interact with it online


Bats sleeping in the rain

Bats have no bankers and they do not drink and cannot be arrested and pay no tax and, in general, bats have it made.

John Berryman

Close Encounter of the Bat kind

This little fruitbat is being cared for by WildLife officers until he's well enough to be released.

What is that little bat eating?

Make your choice

See results

A landing in the rain


Unless otherwise stated, images by Susanna Duffy

© 2010 Susanna Duffy

Go batty in my guestbook

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I loved seeing the occasional bat fly overhead as I walked home after work. There were fewer in the outskirts of Melbourne than in the central botanic garden! Gorgeous creatures! Although, a bit pongy.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 

      7 years ago from Royalton

      The more that I learn about bats the more adorable they look to me.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I love this lens - we see a few bats flying around our garden at dusk, but they are very small and we have no idea where they sleep during the day.

    • SusannaDuffy profile imageAUTHOR

      Susanna Duffy 

      7 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      @oztoo lm: I'm 30 seconds flight time from the big colony on the Yarra - swollen by more bats coming down from up north

    • oztoo lm profile image

      oztoo lm 

      7 years ago

      Love your great images Susanna. Haven't seen any around here for a while cause of all the recent rains. I don't know where the nearest colony is but they usually fly over in the evening in their hundreds. It must be a big colony where you live.

    • justholidays profile image


      7 years ago

      I got a bat one day, in my apartment... She wanted to help me dry my hair! I finally found a way to get her back outside, in her natural environment... Very nice animal, by the way.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 

      7 years ago from New Zealand

      Very interesting. I had no idea there were that many bats in Melbourne. Great photos on this page.

    • one SquidAddict profile image

      one SquidAddict 

      7 years ago

      Gorgeous pictures! Bats are one of my favorite creatures and don't deserve their bad reputation - even if they do pong!


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