Hundreds of fur-covered flying fox bats, which lack sufficient canopy cover and shade in Australia's suburbs, died outside Sydney over the weekend as temperatures soared to 117 degrees F, the hottest it's been since 1939.
TheCamden Advertiser reports as of Monday, 204 dead bats — mostly babies — whose brains had boiled had been collected in Campbelltown. In addition to the bat pups found dead on the ground, several hundred more remained unreachable in the trees, according to Help Save the Wildlife and Bushlands in Campbelltown, the group that organized the rescue and body c0llection effort.
"I don't know how many times I bent down and got on my knees to pick up a dead baby," Kate Ryan, identified as the colony manager, told the newspaper. Mrs Ryan said due to climate change, there was not much that could be done to prevent a similar incident ...
“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.”
There are four species of flying fox bats in Australia and all are susceptible to extreme heat. Although they've adapted to warm temperatures, the fruit-eating creatures have trouble regulating their body temperature when the weather goes above 104 degrees F. Baby bats are in even greater danger because they can't regulate their bodies as well as adults, and they often die of dehydration while adults find refuge on higher tree branches. "They basically boil," Ryan explained. "It affects their brain — their brain just fries and they become incoherent."