Council wants to balance the need to protect flying-foxes as a threatened species while reducing their impact on residents so we can all live together in Ipswich.

As we update the Ipswich Flying Fox Roost Management Plan, we will look at current regulations, best practice management of roosts and Ipswich flying fox roost data. We will also take into consideration the impacts you shared with us through the survey in mid 2023 and how the management plan can guide us in sharing the same neighbourhood into the future.

Key survey findings

Read the engagement summary report in the 'Document Library' section for more information.


There are three flying fox species that can be found in Ipswich; Black flying fox, Grey headed flying fox and at certain times of year, Little red flying fox.

Flying foxes are like ‘nocturnal bees’, flying up to 50km looking for nectar and fruit, pollinating flowers and dispersing seeds of important plant species such as eucalypts.

The spread of these tree species are vital for forests and other native animals such as koalas.

Our environment needs flying foxes for the pollination and dispersal of vital native plants such as koala food trees. They are crucial to keeping native forests healthy and pollinating flowers to aid in the production of honey!

In the past, we didn't see as many flying foxes in urban communities as we were separated from their roosts by native forests and open spaces, but they were still there.

As these forests and open spaces have become fragmented to allow for residential areas, flying foxes may now roost near our homes impacting on our lifestyle.

If roosts are managed properly and community understand their lifestyle, we can safely live alongside them and manage roost impacts.

Flying foxes and their habitat are protected under both Australian and Queensland law. Any action to manage flying foxes must protect the animals’ welfare.

Trees which flying foxes roost and forage in also provide critical habitat for other significant species and are protected under State Government vegetation management regulations.

Flying foxes have specific requirements for roost habitat. They prefer a suitable ‘microclimate’ created by trees, shrubs and water. Suitable habitat areas are increasingly rare with urbanisation.

Ipswich has a scattering of flying fox roosts; generally between four and ten roosts depending on the season, food availability and migration patterns.

Depending on various factors, a roost may have thousands of flying foxes – or it may have none. Roosts are dynamic and numbers can fluctuate daily, seasonally and annually.

Dispersal of flying fox roosts is rarely successful. Often the animals will return, or may roost in less desirable locations such as backyards.

Council has identified preferred roost locations, which are encouraged and embellished as suitable flying fox habitat. This is to minimise flying foxes roosting in unsuitable locations across the city.

The main community concerns with flying foxes are excessive noise at dusk and dawn, odour and fear of disease.

Find out some tips for living near flying foxes here.

Where a flying fox roost is on both council land and private property, council can support landowners with educational material, technical advice and referral to expert information sources. Contact us at or call (07) 3810 6666.

Some low-impact activities can be undertaken by council or landowners to manage roost impacts, but must always comply with the Code of Practice – low impact activities affecting flying fox roosts.

Council is committed to a case-by-case assessment of flying fox roosts and their impact on residents. Any management actions must be based on the individual site circumstances.

There are some health concerns with flying foxes but in almost all circumstances there is no reason to be alarmed for your health.

Catching a disease directly from flying foxes is extremely unlikely.

However, they are known to carry two life-threatening viruses:

  1. Hendra virus - this virus occasionally spills over from the flying fox population into horses. There is no evidence that the virus can be passed directly from flying-foxes to humans, from the environment to humans, from humans to horses, or that it is airborne.
  2. Australian Bat Lyssavirus (ABLV) - this virus can only be caught from untreated bites or scratches from infected flying foxes. If you find a sick, injured or orphaned flying fox, do not touch it. Contact your local wildlife care organisation or contact RSPCA Qld at their website or by calling 1300 ANIMAL (264 625).

For more information on flying fox viruses see the Queensland Government website.

Council’s Flying Fox Roost Management Plan (the Plan) aims to protect the wellbeing, health and livelihoods of the residents of Ipswich.

At the same time Council will strive to conserve the flying-fox populations and essential ecological roles they perform.

Council is responsible for managing flying fox roosts on land owned or controlled by council, and supporting landowners where roosts are on private property.

With our growing population, urban expansion and other impacts, we need to ensure our management plan is suitable to guide the management of current roosts and future roosts within the city.

Current regulations, best practice management of roosts, current Ipswich flying fox roost data and community input will all be considered in the update of the Plan.

The current Flying Fox Roost Management Plan was adopted by Council in 2014.

Since then, our city has changed significantly. We need to re-evaluate our plan for roost management to ensure the best outcomes for flying foxes and the community.

Ipswich City Council was successful under Round 3 of the Queensland Government Flying Fox Roost Management -Local Government Grants Program.

Council received $30,000 to update the 2014 Plan to incorporate new long-term roost management strategies.

About Flying Foxes

Fast facts


Flying foxes are nocturnal and like to live in areas with access to water, trees and food.

They roost during the day in groups and travel at night to feed on flowering and fruiting trees. The roosts fluctuate in numbers and can range from a few hundred to thousands of individual flying foxes. They may also have seasonal roosts to take advantage of areas with increased trees with food.

Flying foxes can cover over 50km in a single night looking for food.

With well-developed sensory systems, flying foxes rely on eyesight, sound and smell to interact with their environment.

The Woodend colony was previously one the largest colonies in South East Queensland, at times hosting over 250,000 flying foxes. During the 1980s, the Camira colony also had significant flying foxes numbers. The majority of these two colonies originally came from Sapling Pocket, where one of the largest colonies in Queensland lived until continued disturbance dispersed the colony.

Following degradation of roosting habitat at Woodend, a number of smaller local roosts emerged. There is now a scattering of small colonies around Ipswich.