Residents of a suburb in Brisbane‘s north have expressed their concern after 50,000 native grey-headed flying foxes or bats  settled in the area. Apparently, the unseasonably warm winter caused this unusual occurrence.

According to reports, a colony of 1,000 bats in Wilston blew up in number in the past six weeks. Experts say that the flying foxes moved south from the Sunshine Coast to look for food.

The unusual warmer weather allowed the trees to continue flowering and provide food for the flying foxes. According to David McLachlan, chair for the local council’s Environment, Parks and Sustainability Committee the bats simply go where the food source is and the Brisbane area is a very good food source for them.

However, many local residents complain that the bats are smelly and noisy. They are also worried that the bats hang around in public areas during the day and they could target residents. Many parents have expressed fears that the bats could scratch or spread viruses to them and their children through bites.

Nevertheless, McLachlan points out that the Department of Environment and Heritage and Queensland Health said the likelihood of the flying foxes carrying a virus was far-fetched. Still, residents are advised to not come into contact with the bats and avoid the areas where they could be scratched or bitten.

The solution for the problem would be cutting down their trees. But not many support this idea.

Besides, the flying foxes are protected native animals and the council’s duty is to protect them and maintain the cleanliness of the area where they reside.

Authorities also have the limited ability to move on colonies but they are trying their best to come up with the solution to alleviate the problem. Meanwhile, many flying foxes are pregnant so there’s nothing the council can do about it, says McLachlan but they are monitoring them.