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This Is Northern New South Wales

Blossom the Flying Fox


In my late teens and in my full Gothic phase I thought bats were really cool. Recently these animals have received some pretty bad press.  This morning I found tangled up in the netting on one of my loaded peach tree’s a big beautiful flying fox that I have named “Blossom”.

So here I was preparing to head out for my daily photo shoot when I heard horrendous screaming coming from the backyard and there she was tangled up in the netting that I had bought from a hardware store that I thought would protect my fruit tree’s from birds, ignorantly I did not realize the damage that could be inflicted on wildlife. Did not even enter my mind for one second to be honest.

I went up to check her out and attempt to throw a towel over her to calm her down and protect her from birds that were hassling her and she screamed abuse at me…don’t blame her really but she scared me half to death!!. I had my dog’s locked in the house, I was as traumatised as Blossom as I tried to get a hold of someone that could help. Enter stage left Catriena from Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers, cool calm and collected, and a passionate Flying fox lover.

Over the 30mins or so that it took Catriena to untangle Blossom, I learned a load about our native flying foxes and I also learnt that Blossom was a very pregnant mumma to be…awwwwww.

Catriena reminded me that they are highly intelligent creatures that clearly understand that they are being helped and sure enough, as soon as she was fed apple juice from a syringe her little eyes followed Catriena around like a baby does it’s mother, she completely surrendering to being helped and it looked like she instantly fell in love with Catriena.

Catriena taught me that the thin nylon monofilament netting I have over my fruit tree’s is possibly the worst thing I could do for our native wild life, she taught me that Blossom will need to put with other adults as they do not cope in isolation, that you catch Hendra Virus from horses not bats, she taught me that what I thought were little bites out of her ears were actually because flying foxes are susceptible to frost bite, she also taught me that it takes about three weeks before they know if there is damage to the membrains in her wings (that were grazed by the netting) and if there is, the wings will effectively die and Blossom may have to be euthanized after she has her baby. But the good news was that Blossom looked pretty good from her traumatic morning amongst the peaches.


Catriena from Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers was fabulously caring and got here very quickly (thanks for the phone number Dougall). Jenny who I spoke to on the phone was really helpful telling me what to do to make sure that Blossom was as calm as possible and she did the urgent ring around to find Catriena for me a specialized Flying Fox carer who has thousands of photos of the babies she has cared for, the flying foxes she has cared for have distinct little personalities that change as they age.

So here is the deal both WIRES and Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers work very closely together. You need someone who has been specifically trained to assist with injured bats. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO FREE THE ANIMAL YOURSELF. It may be injured stressed and frightened and you may be scratched or bitten. Throw a towel over the animal and call for help.

Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers have a 24 hour hotline – 6628 1866

WIRES – 13 000 WIRES – 13 00 094 737

You can help by sending donations to:

Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers

South Lismore 2480

Donations over $2 are tax deductible

Wildlife care organisations are always looking for new carers to help look after injured and orphaned wildlife. If you are interested give them a call. And from Blossom and myself…… a big thanks to you Catriena and the team at NRWC. I hope Blossom and her baby have a long and healthy life.

Words and Photographs – Kirra Pendergast