DROUGHT TOLL: Bats are struggling to find fruit due to the drought.
DROUGHT TOLL: Bats are struggling to find fruit due to the drought.

Why bats are dropping dead out of the sky

IF YOU'VE had bats roosting in your backyard of late, you're not the only one.

Local wildlife carer Christine Wynne said she has received about a dozen calls a day for the past week with concerns about bats, but she believes it's not because the animals are sick - they are starving and exhausted.

Some residents are reporting the animals simply dropping dead from the sky.

With more than half the state in drought, Ms Wynne said trees weren't flowering and flying foxes were having to fly long distances in search of food.

And once they've found some, they are too tired and weak to fly back to their colony.

Having cared for bats for more than 18 years, Ms Wynne said this was the first time in 30 years that she had seen grey-headed flying foxes in Elliott Heads.

She said bats played a vital role within an ecosystem, like bees, they pollinate trees, are very intelligent and typically not aggressive animals.

TIRED AND HUNGRY: Wildlife carer Christine Wynn with a flying fox.
TIRED AND HUNGRY: Wildlife carer Christine Wynn with a flying fox.

Ms Wynne said there was quite a lot of fear surrounding bats because of lyssavirus, but she urged the community to remember that not all bats carried the disease and you needed to be bitten or scratched by a bat in order to contract it.

If you leave them alone, there's no chance of getting the disease.

She said it cannot be transmitted via their droppings or urine. Ms Wynne said the best rule to follow was if you saw a bat in your yard, call her.

If a bat was dead in your yard, Ms Wynne advised burying it if possible, binning it or taking it to a local vet to dispose of.

She said for those compassionate enough to want to help the bats, leave some fruit and water out for them and hopefully it will be over soon.

The only other time she has been called to deal with this many bats, was when temperatures soared above 40 degrees and bats were dropping out of the sky because of the heat.

She said the fires burning throughout the state would also be contributing to the number seeking refuge in the region.

Ms Wynne can be contacted on 4159 6431 or 0439 502 228.