28 February 2008

Flying foxes

Grey-headed flying foxes Pteropus poliocephalus are large bats, weighing up to 1 kilogram, with a wing span which may exceed one metre. They sleep during the day and feed on pollen, nectar and fruit at night. There is a large colony of these bats - over 11,000 - resident in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney, and they are destroying many trees in the gardens.

During our tour on Monday, we saw what a disgusting mess the bats made and how much destruction they have caused, especially in the palm grove. In this photo, you can see a multitude of them hanging in a tree that has been shredded by their claws.

While we were in the gardens, we crossed paths with a group of young primary school children, whose tour guide advised them to 'keep your hats on and don't look up at the bats in case they poo on you'. Wise advice, considering the mess we saw below the trees!

Brenda and I proceeded from the gardens to the nearby Art Gallery of NSW. One of the first installations we saw was this:

Fruit Bats by Lin Onus. Coming straight after seeing the real bats, it made me laugh. If only the real bat droppings were as neat as the ones depicted here! We passed this piece several times on our journey through the gallery and it made me smile every time; so much so that I had to buy a postcard of it.

Of course, my main purpose in visiting the gallery was to feast on the paintings of John Olsen, my absolute fave. Many of his paintings are in the gallery's permanent collection and there were three on display. Of course I acted like a besotted groupie and ogled the paintings with fervour.

If you're in the neighbourhood before 30 March, pop in and see ArtExpress 08, an exhibition of art works created by final year high school students for their major Visual Arts works in 2007. There are some amazing pieces!


  1. Anonymous10:22 am

    Fabulous!! What a hoot :)
    I am regularly woken in the night by bats squabbling in the palm trees outside my window. And they poo all over our balcony. But they really are sweet little things and I'm glad we have them.

    ps I would have been doing groupie squeals, too.

  2. There are some details shots of the bats on this collection page on the AGNSW website


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