'Too scared to play': Residents fear for their health as suburb invaded by bats

An inner-Brisbane suburb is being invaded by tens of thousands of flying foxes, sparking health fears.

Herston residents say their children are too scared to play outside and they are desperate for the council to find a solution.

Residents say every winter, right on cue, they arrive like a bat out of hell.

The inner-Brisbane suburb of Herston is being invaded by tens of thousands of flying foxes, sparking health fears. Source: 7 News

The Herston roost is home to 21,000 grey and black-headed flying foxes.The invasion is close to the RNA showgrounds, with The Ekka just days away.

“The noise and smell is really unbearable,” said resident Adam Westerink.

“They come to feed in winter so they are here for six to eight weeks in these winter months.”

Residents say the bats are smelly and noisy. Source: 7 News

Mr Westerink is concerned about diseases like lyssavirus – a rabies virus, as the animals are just metres away from where his young son would usually play.

“We are scared to come into the playground.”

However Professor Michael Whitby of Greenslopes Private Hospital said there was minimal risk if the animals were left alone.

“Health authorities recommend you leave injured flying foxes alone. If you touch the flying fox you’re in trouble, if you leave it alone it shouldn’t cause you any problems.”

Herston resident Adam Westerink fears for his family’s safety. Source: 7 News

Mr Westerink told 7 News he has been contacting Brisbane City Council about the winter invasion for the past six years.

The council said in a statement it monitors roosting sites, however “the grey-headed flying fox is a vulnerable native species and the Herston roost has special protections under Federal Government law”.

So for now, the bats rule the roost.