Boon Keng residents told to hang 'shiny objects' at doors, windows after finding bats in flats

Boon Keng residents told to hang 'shiny objects' at doors, windows after finding bats in flats

File photo of fruit bats in Thailand
File photo of fruit bats in a tree. (Photo: AFP / ROMEO GACAD)

SINGAPORE: Residents along Upper Boon Keng Road have been told to remain calm and hang shiny objects at their doors and windows, after receiving some unique visitors - bats living in nearby fruit trees.

The flying mammals have been swooping into the homes of those living in Block 14 Upper Boon Keng Road.

"Our residents were concerned about the possibility of bats being disease carriers and not knowing the proper way to 'usher' these 'guests' out of their homes," Jalan Besar GRC Member of Parliament (MP) Josephine Teo said in a Facebook post on Thursday (Sep 10).

Officials contacted NParks, who arranged for an officer and a bat research specialist to visit those affected, said Mrs Teo.

"They assured our residents that these bats do not possess virulent strains of coronavirus, and shared about the important ecological roles of bats as pollinators and in controlling insect populations," she added.

Residents were given practical advice on how they can deter bats from flying into their homes, including hanging shiny objects such as CDs at entry points and installing a magnetic fly mesh or insect netting at windows.

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The town council has also pruned the nearby fruit trees to "encourage the bats to create their homes away from residential units", added Mrs Teo.

Of more than 1,000 species of bats in the world, 20 species can be found in Singapore, according to an advisory by NParks and the Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Bats are generally shy and are not aggressive unless they feel threatened or are attacked. They play an essential role in the ecosystem, acting as pollinators and seed dispersers as well as helping with insect population control by feeding on mosquitos, beetles and crickets.

"Do not be alarmed," read the advisory. "Like most wild animals, bats are shy. You are advised to leave bats alone. They will fly away after they have done feeding." 

Some tips from NParks and Wildlife Reserves Singapore:

- Leave bats alone - they will fly away after they are done feeding.

- Do not handle a grounded bat, as it may bite in self defence.

- To minimise bats feeding and roosting in your property, install lighting in areas where you think bats may visit.

- Apply lubricants or glossy paper on areas where they perch or roost to stop them from doing so.

Source: CNA/nc

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