The heat wave in Queensland, Australia caused 100,000 bats to fall from the sky to their deaths. The RSPCA reported seeing thousands of bats in 25 separate colonies, which were found dead on the ground in southern Queensland including Boonah, Gatton, Laidley, Mt. Ommaney, Palmwoods and Redbank.
The scorching temperature in the past few weeks across inland Australia has a significant impact to bat population, according to RSPCA spokesman Mark Beatty. He remarked that the heat wave has been a catastrophic event for bat colonies.
The Scenic Rim Regional Council has ordered a massive cleanup to collect the bat carcasses since the stench is beginning to bother locals. Residents near Athol Terrace lookout in Boonah said they have been agonising over the smell of dead bats for four days.
Local reports claimed that hundreds of bats were starting to decompose in bushes and trees with maggots eating the rotten flesh.
Queensland Health has advised residents not to touch the dead bats. Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young stated that bats should be left alone to avoid the risk of infection with lyssavirus. She said some bats may look dead especially when they're not moving but they may still be alive once there is contact.
According to a report by ABC, a resident was given anti-viral treatment after a baby bat scratched her while clearing trees of bat carcasses. Workers will not be sent to the bushlands in the meantime to avoid causing further disruption to other living bat colonies in the area.
At least 16 people who were sent to clean up bat carcasses received anti-viral treatment after coming into close contact with bats. Instead of residents doing the clearing, Sammy Ringer from Bat Rescue advised people to contact trained professionals like wildlife volunteers or vets.
Meanwhile, the heat wave has not shown any indication of letting up soon, as Australia's daily temperature continues to rise. The Bureau of Meteorology reported that Emu Creek in Pilbara may be the first in the country to experience a record-breaking temperature of 50 degrees Celsius since 1998.
Emu Creek is predicted to continue with a 50C temperature as the heat wave spreads across other areas in Australia.
Based on current weather forecasts, Perth will experience a rise in temperature on Jan. 11 of at least 41 degrees, while Adelaide will record 30 to 41 degrees in the coming days.
According to a report from the Bureau of Meteorology, Jan. 3 was recorded as the hottest day in Queensland. On Jan. 2, Moomba in South Australia had a temperature of 49.3 degrees, the highest temperature reported during the heat wave. The bureau said 34 areas in Australia broke temperature records between Dec. 30 and Jan. 4.