100K Dead Bats Drop From Sky in Australia

Heat overtakes 'flying foxes'

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 9, 2014 1:06 PM CST | Updated Jan 12, 2014 7:35 AM CST

(Newser) – As the US emerged from that whole "polar vortex," Australia saw an intense heatwave last weekend—leading to the deaths of 100,000 bats, many of which reportedly dropped from the sky. In one video that went viral, a man filmed what he estimated to be more than 1,000 bat carcasses in his backyard, the Guardian reports. "The heatwave was basically a catastrophe for all the bat colonies in southeast Queensland," a rep for the RSPCA tells Australia's ABC News, noting that mass deaths were reported at 25 colonies. Bats are fragile and can't withstand temperatures above 109 degrees, a conservation worker explains. (Queensland's Brisbane got as hot as 106 on Saturday, notes ABC News.)

"They just fall," she says. "It's a horrible, cruel way to die." Another problem: The stench from the bodies is bothering locals. In one area, residents say they've had to live with the smell for days; in others, teams of trash collectors have been put together by regional councils to clean up the carcasses. In addition to those that fell to the ground, hundreds of bodies are still in trees and bushes, and maggots have already set in. As if all that isn't enough, at least 16 people have had to undergo anti-viral treatment after getting scratched or otherwise coming into close contact with a bat.

In this photo from the Australian Bat Clinic, 15 heat-stressed baby Flying Foxes (bats) are lined up ready to feed at the Australia Bat Clinic near the Gold Coast in Queensland, Jan. 9, 2014.
In this photo from the Australian Bat Clinic, 15 heat-stressed baby Flying Foxes (bats) are lined up ready to feed at the Australia Bat Clinic near the Gold Coast in Queensland, Jan. 9, 2014.   (AP Photo/Australian Bat Clinic, Trish Wimberley)
A mother and baby grey-headed Flying fox rest in a tree before flying out to feed Sunday, March 13, 2011 at a bat colony in western Sydney, Australia.
A mother and baby grey-headed Flying fox rest in a tree before flying out to feed Sunday, March 13, 2011 at a bat colony in western Sydney, Australia.   (AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
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One man reports 1,000 dead bats on his property.   (YouTube)

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