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It was so hot in Sydney that bats were 'boiled' alive

At last count, 204 dead bats – mostly babies – had been collected

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robert99 robert99 Sweden Posts: 1360
1 11 Jan 2018

Young bats are particularly susceptible to extreme heat, with temperatures above the mid-30s posing a health risk.

Any temperature above 40 degrees poses a risk for adults, while temperatures above 42 degrees "will see the loss of life".

"They basically boil," Mrs Ryan said.

"It affects their brain – their brain just fries and they become incoherent.

"It would be like standing in the middle of a sandpit with no shade."

Volunteers nursed more than 100 bats back to health on site, while about 20, which were considered critical, were taken into care.

Mrs Ryan said due to climate change, there was not much that could be done to prevent a similar incident occurring should the mercury reach the mid 40s again.

However, she said more should and could be done to improve the colony's habitat to give the bats a fighting chance of survival.

"The colony is not in good shape," she said.

"The creek which runs through the colony is putrid so the bats don't have anywhere to cool down and there is no ground cover. It (the site) needs a total regeneration.

"(Campbelltown) Council need the funds (for regeneration) but if the government don't want to provide the funds, there is not much the council can do about it."

Picton also has a flying fox colony however the bats were more protected from the heat than the Campbelltown colony, environmental outcomes manager Alex Stengl said.

"WIRES Volunteers were monitoring the bat colony at Picton over the weekend and there were no observed deaths," she said.

"This is believed to be due to the topography of the area where the bat colony is located, which resulted in cooler temperatures for the bats."

Bats can carry lyssavirus, a virus can cause a similar illness to rabies, which affects a person's central nervous system and is usually fatal.

People have been urged not to touch any dead bats, but to alert authorities so they could be collected.