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What do I do about Flying fox faeces?

Flying foxes excrete either during flight or by turning heads-up and holding onto a branch by their wing claws. The flying fox digestive system is much faster than a human system (12 to 30 minutes between eating and poo-ing) and they often don't physically chew and swallow their food – they crush it against the roof of their mouth and spit it out after swallowing the juice. This primarily liquid diet contributes to their quick digestive system.

  • Drying your clothes outdoors: You will experience the greatest impact from faeces 'bombs' on your washing as the flying foxes move over your home when they are leaving their camp in the evening or arriving in the morning. It may be useful to note the approximate times the flying foxes are leaving and returning in relation to the sunrise and sunset. This will give you some level of control knowing when you will need to ensure your washing is brought in off the line.

    Some residents in other regions have constructed tarpaulin coverings over their clothes-lines to protect their washing. ; To remove flying fox faeces from your washing treat them like fruit stains. Soak the item as soon as possible (preferably while the stain is still wet) in a good stain remover. Unfortunately some fruits with strong coloured flesh (e.g. mulberries) may leave a permanent stain.

  • Cars and other painted or outdoor surfaces: Some residents have reported that flying fox faeces seems to strip paint from cars, houses and garden furniture. There is some information to suggest that this is more likely due to the faeces drying and peeling off a surface and, especially if the underlying paint is older, lifting off a patch of the surface paint with it. Whether it does or does not strip paint, there is evidence to suggest that if the faeces is removed regularly with soapy water, it does not remove paint.
  • Rainwater tanks: If you live under the flying fox flight path it is inevitable that flying fox faeces will be washed into your rainwater tanks when it rains. NSW Health recommends against drinking water from rainwater tanks where there is public drinking water available. Advice on safely managing rainwater for drinking purposes where there is no alternative supply is available on the NSW Health website.
  • Use the water from your tank for the garden, toilet flushing and car washing. However, the water will contain the faeces, including any fruit-colouring, unless you use a 'first-flush' system to prevent the first portion of roof run-off from entering the tank.

  • Local water catchment: There is no evidence that a flying fox camp has any impact on publicly available drinking water provided by local authorities. The water continues to be treated and this eliminates any contamination from additional flying fox faeces in the catchment.      

This page was last updated on: 13 September 2019