While blistering cold continues to punish most of North America, here is your friendly annual reminder that summer is in full swing down in Australia.
Unfortunately for residents of several towns scattered across the north-east state of Queensland, enjoying all that wonderful sunshine may be a bit difficult, especially when surrounded by the rotting, noxious corpses of thousands of dead bats.
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The culprit in this case is apparently a scorching summer heat wave, which can wreak havoc on a bat's fragile anatomy. "Anything over 43 degrees Celsius (109 Fahrenheit) and they just fall," says Louis Saunders, a local conservation worker. "It's a horrible, cruel way to die."
The smell is becoming a nuisance for local residents, too.
Locals are advised not to touch the bats themselves, since scratches or bites can spread diseases like the lyssavirus, which can trigger paralysis and convulsions. One of the 16 patients receiving anti-viral treatment says she was scratched by a still-alive baby bat while she was clearing bat corpses out of a tree with a rake.
One man took footage when he saw over a thousand dead bats in his own backyard:
What's more is that this isn't even the first time the land down under has had a Hitchcockian encounter with thousands of bats ominously dropping dead. Last January, similarly hot temperatures in the south-eastern coastal city of Shoalhaven killed roughly a thousand grey-headed flying foxes, which are an especially vulnerable species.
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