Heat­wave raises con­cern for bats

Shepparton News - - NEWS - By Madeleine Cac­cian­iga

Heat con­di­tions are tak­ing a toll on Nu­murkah’s res­i­dent fruit bat colony on the banks of the Bro­ken Creek.

Bo­hol­low Wildlife Shel­ter op­er­a­tor Deb Fowler said she was con­cerned for the health of the bats after find­ing 26 dead in re­cent heat con­di­tions.

‘‘It’s def­i­nitely the heat, when the tem­per­a­ture rises they work their way down the tree, mak­ing their way to the ground,’’ Ms Fowler said.

She said the crea­tures clus­tered to­gether dur­ing times of heat stress and could suf­fo­cate each other.

‘‘It’s called clump­ing, they pile on top of each other as a form of cop­ing,’’ Ms Fowler said.

Find­ing mostly ju­ve­niles dead, Ms Fowlers said at this time of year they were not strong enough to cope with the con­di­tions.

‘‘Bats are a threat­ened species, so any loss can be dev­as­tat­ing,’’ she said.

Peo­ple are ad­vised not to touch the bats if they find them on the ground.

‘‘Peo­ple who are not vac­ci­nated should not touch any bat, dead or alive,’’ Ms Fowler said, adding that it could be dan­ger­ous.

She said the shel­ter staff would con­tinue to get down to the creek as of­ten as pos­si­ble to care for the ones that were badly heat stressed.

‘‘If they’re in your yard, you can spray them with tepid wa­ter to cool them down, not cold wa­ter, that will send them into shock,’’ Ms Fowler said. ● For help with heat­stroke in wildlife, phone Bo­hol­low Wildlife Shel­ter’s Deb Fowler on 0418 328 671 or Kirsty Ra­madan on 0447 636 953. Hang­ing around: There are con­cerns for Nu­murkah’s bats after re­cent heat­wave.

Pic­tures: Me­gan Fisher

Mak­ing a splash: Kyabram’s Macy O’Dwyer, 6, keeps cool.

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