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Birds, turtles and flying foxes are just some of the wildlife you'll find in the Botanic Gardens and Botanic Park. To our feathered, furred and shelled friends the gardens are home – they provide a natural haven and a plentiful supply of natural food sources.

When you visit the gardens you will see signs dotted about the place asking that you do not feed the wildlife. This is for several reasons:

Animal welfare

The welfare of animals and birds that are attracted to, and become dependent on, artificial food sources is of real concern. Food fed to wildlife (like bread) almost always has low nutritional value and could potentially be harmful to the animal eating it.

Allowing wild animals to hand feed regularly may also prevent their young from learning how to forage.

Patron welfare

Birds will often become aggressive and persistent in their attempts to snatch food. This increases the risk of accidental injury, especially to small children.

Food intended for swans and ducks also provides a supply for the other bird species (like seagulls and pigeons) that loiter around the eating areas in the gardens. This encourages these birds to wait for food handouts, which is a nuisance, and sometimes a danger, to diners.

Pests and vermin

Animal feeding attracts pests and vermin such as rats and can make wildlife vulnerable to predators. It also increases the level of animal droppings, especially around popular areas.

We appreciate that feeding ducks has long been a popular activity for visitors. But as with the Sydney and Melbourne Botanic Gardens, we've put this measure in place to improve the overall experience for visitors and, ultimately, to protect the wildlife that frequents the Botanic Gardens of South Australia.

Grey-headed flying-foxes

Grey-headed flying foxes have made Botanic Park home since 2010.

Extreme heat can affect wildlife, including the resident Grey-headed flying-foxes, which are a threatened species.

During high temperatures, heat-stressed flying foxes and their pups may roost on low branches, fly low or fall to the ground.

Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium staff help reduce heat stress by cooling the roosting area with sprinklers. We may also put exclusion zones in place to protect both the flying foxes and our human visitors. Please use any detours in place to help reduce additional stress to these vulnerable animals.

Visitors to Botanic Park are reminded not to handle the flying foxes and be mindful of them, especially around Speakers' Corner.

Contact with a flying fox can be very dangerous as they can carry diseases that are transmissible to humans.

The flying foxes must only be handled by appropriately trained and vaccinated animal handlers.

If you come across a flying fox that appears to be dead, injured or in distress, please call Fauna Rescue’s 24-hour hotline: 08 8486 1139.

Find out more about the Grey-headed flying foxes.

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