Go a bit batty at Yarra Bend

Bats beckon curious on free tour of Melbourne colony

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IT TAKES TWO TO DANGLE: A fruit bat with her baby at Yarra Bend Park.

IT TAKES TWO TO DANGLE: A fruit bat with her baby at Yarra Bend Park.

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Head to Yarra Bend Park to see what makes flying foxes so fascinating and important.

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HERE'S a better idea than hanging around at home: hang with the bats on a free Flying Fox Discovery Tour at Yarra Bend.

Volunteer park guides will showcase the grey-headed flying fox colony on weekends and selected weekdays throughout January..

Also known as fruit bats, the flying foxes are a threatened species that provide an important ecosystem service, being some of the most efficient pollinators and seed dispersers on the continent.

The population at Yarra Bend Park, just 15 minutes from central Melbourne, ranges from 3000 individuals in winter to 30,000 in summer.

On warm evenings the bats make a spectacular sight as they fly en masse across Melbourne in search of nectar and fruit.

The bats are currently visible all the way from the Bellbird Picnic Area along the path downstream to the bat "nursery" full of mothers and babies.

The tours give visitors the chance to learn about and experience this fascinating mammal up close in its natural habitat, while exploring the city's closest block of remnant bushland.

The colony was relocated in 2003 from the Royal Botanic Gardens when the population became too large for the area.

A ground-breaking wildlife management experiment was undertaken to successfully move the bats and ensure their long-term survival in Melbourne.

Yarra Bend Park is a protected area that provides ideal roosting opportunities for these intelligent creatures. With no residential neighbours, they can sleep all day.

The main viewing area is wheel-chair accessible from Bellbird Picnic Area.

The tour takes about 45 minutes return and is on a flat, easy trail.

To book a tour call Parks Victoria on 131-963 or click here.

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