TANNUM Sands residents Rhonda Selff, Marline Archer and Bill Taylor carry umbrellas on their daily walks along the Boyne River; but it's not the rain they're worried about, it's the bats.

For the past seven years the trio has walked along the Boyne River at Tannum Sands, but never before have they seen so many flying foxes roosting in trees so close to the pathway.

The Botanic Walk has been temporarily closed because of the large number of flying foxes roosting in the area.

"There's always been bats in this area but they're usually further back," Ms Archer said.

"Now there are at least two new colonies. If they drop something on you it's not nice."

The flying foxes roost in trees that hang over the pathways - disturbing the three residents during their walk.

"I'm scared of them," Ms Selff said.

"We know they carry viruses and sometimes it feels like they're going to fly into you."

BAT CALL: Marline Archer, Rhonda Selff and Bill Taylor always take umbrellas on their walks along the Boyne River, but they’re not for rain – they’re for the bats.
BAT CALL: Marline Archer, Rhonda Selff and Bill Taylor always take umbrellas on their walks along the Boyne River, but they’re not for rain – they’re for the bats. Tegan Annett

Ms Selff has always carried an umbrella in the area and Ms Archer decided to use one at the start of this year, after a flying fox defecated on her shirt.

They said they enjoyed walking along the track because it was close to their homes and easy for Ms Selff to walk to work from there.

Another frequent walker along the track, Tammy Jetsen, also carries an umbrella.

"It's funny that you have an umbrella for the bats instead of the rain," she said.

"Something needs to be done about this.

"This is a walking track made for the public so it should be safe."

Gladstone Regional Council's environment portfolio spokesman Col Chapman said disturbing the colony could result in flying foxes moving closer to local schools or another undesired location.

"The trees overhanging the pathway will be pruned once the animals have moved on, preventing them from gathering in such large numbers again in the near future," he said.

If you find a sick, injured or orphaned flying fox do not touch it. Contact the Gladstone District Wildlife Carers Association or the Friends of RSPCA.

If you are bitten or scratched by a bat wash the wound gently with soap and water and contact a doctor or hospital immediately.



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