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

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. (More animal deaths stories.)

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