Classical music is the latest weapon in the bat battle going on in Batemans Bay.
The Batemans Bay Old Courthouse Museum is in the frontline of the battle, right under the nose of the 2000-strong “camp” of grey-haired flying foxes at the Water Gardens, and they are using music written centuries ago to encourage the controversial critters to move on each day.
The museum volunteers crank up ABC Classic FM each morning from a small stereo outside the eastern side of the building.
“Within half an hour they are out of earshot,” Batemans Bay Historical president Tony Whelan said.
The volunteers got the idea from the Sydney Botanical Gardens, where music has been used successfully to combat the same problem there.
“I don’t know which is worse, the bats or the music,” Mr Whelan said.
Museum curator Myf Thompson sees it differently.
“At the moment, the Sydney International Piano Competition is on, so we have the best educated bats on the South Coast, not to mention the volunteers,” she said.
While classical music is the current choice, museum volunteers say they are open to playing Meat Loaf’s Bat Out Of Hell, Prince’s Bat Dance or any other bat-themed music if anyone has some to spare.
Ms Thompson has no ill-feelings towards the flying foxes, despite the trauma they have been causing many Batemans Bay residents with their noise, damage to power lines, odour, appetite and sheer numbers.
“They are a South Coast species and they are only here because their habitat has been so disrupted by development,” she said.
“They have been here for three months, which is longer than expected, and we have had to do a lot of cleaning.”
She rejects talk of culling the bats.
“They are fascinating, and if we can’t accommodate another species, what kind of people are we?”
Meanwhile, Bay City Cinemas duty manager Lachlan Churchill said he wasn’t concerned that the current level of anti-bat sentiment in Batemans Bay would affect ticket sales for The Dark Knight Rises, which opens on July 19.
“Batman’s persona will keep him intact, and he won’t be touching any powerlines,” he said.