Bats rain from Australia's sky, victims of heat wave

Yahoo News

It's raining bats in Australia.

As many as 100,000 of the winged mammals fell from the sky and died, the result of an incredible heat wave, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) reports.

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals spokesman Michael Beatty told ABC that the heat wave, with temperatures close to 109 degrees Fahrenheit, was "basically a catastrophe for all the bat colonies in southeast Queensland."

All told, massive deaths at 25 separate colonies have been reported, according to ABC.

In the aftermath, one person recorded the numbers of fallen bats in a nearby forest. Warning: Some may find the video disturbing.

Beatty told ABC the huge number of deaths is "going to have a pretty disturbing impact on those colonies, and those colonies are vital to our ecosystem."

"It's a horrible, cruel way to die," Louise Saunders, a conservation worker, told the Telegraph. "Anything over 43 degrees [Celsius, or 109 Fahrenheit] and they just fall. We're just picking up those that are just not coping and are humanely euthanizing what we can."

The resulting stench from the die-off has proved to be a problem as well. Those living nearby have been advised not to pick up the bats, as some may still be alive and could deliver potentially dangerous scratches. Queensland's health department released a statement from Chief Health Officer Dr. Jeannette Young.

"If you find a bat it is very important not to touch it because of the risk of infection with Australian bat lyssavirus," a type of rabies, she said. "Some bats may appear dead but they are not, and when people have attempted to remove them they have been bitten or scratched."

Follow Mike Krumboltz on Twitter at @mikekrumboltz.

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