Australia Heat Wave Kills 100,000 Bats

While thousands in the US were dealing with the snowpocalypse of 2014 and the polar vortex, an Australian heat wave rolled through the country and is said to have killed 100,000 bats in addition to making life rather difficult for everyone.

Mashable reported that some areas in Australia experienced a major heat wave this week with temperatures reaching as high as 135 degrees Fahrenheit. These temperatures are deadly for any human, let alone animals. Bat Conservation & Rescue Queensland President, Louise Sanders told reporters that “anything over 43 degrees Celsius (109 degrees Fahrenheit) and [the bats] just fall.”

And that’s just what happened. Thousands of bats flying in the area came crashing to the ground due to the extreme heat. Many of the animals died on impact, but there were some that looked like they were dead, but were in fact still alive. Queensland health authorities have urged everyone to stay away from the animals. Chief Health Officer Dr. Jeannette Young said the following in a statement:

“If you find a bat, it is very important not to touch [it] because of the risk of infection with Australian bat lyssavirus. It is very important not to attempt to assist the animal yourself.”

According to ABC News, Australia’s heat wave began around Christmas time. Since December 27, 2013, records have been set at 34 locations across the country. Louise Saunders, president of the Queensland animal welfare group Bat Conservation and Rescue, stated that hundreds of bats have been effected by the heat wave.

“Heat-stressed bats — including the Black Flying Foxes, Little Red Flying Foxes and the endangered Gray-Headed Flying Foxes — cling to trees and urinate on themselves in a bid to reduce their body temperatures,” she said. “As they succumb, they just fall in heaps at the base of trees,” Saunders said. “You can have 250 or more — it’s like dripping chocolate — all dying at the base of trees.”

[Image by Justin Welbergen via Wikimedia Commons]