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Fruit Bat Orphans Bottle-Fed At Hospital In Australia (VIDEO)

Posted: 11/26/11 04:49 PM ET

It turns out bats can be cute.

A group of 98 baby fruits bats, known as spectacled flying foxes (Pteropus conspicillatus), arrived at an animal hospital in Brisbane, Australia after they became orphans.

The bats' parents were killed indirectly by February's Cyclone Yasi. The storm destroyed tree canopies where the bats normally live, forcing them to forage on the ground and exposing them to deadly ticks, according to the video from the Associated Press.

Rachel Sloan, a caregiver for the bats, told AP it has been difficult caring for them. "Well it's like a new newborn baby, but you've got 100 of them," she said.

The orphans are originally from near Tolga, in Far North Queensland, but were transported further south to Brisbane where they could be accommodated, reports Sky News Australia. They will be returned in January.

Spectacled flying foxes are considered a "vulnerable" species, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

The bats are quite important to their ecosystem. Michael Beatty from RSPCA Australia told AP, "Without the flying foxes, there are no forests. They simply die out."

In the U.S., a fungus called white-nose syndrome is threatening brown bat populations. A woman in northern Virginia has become a real-life "Batwoman" and dedicated herself to helping and rehabilitating members of the local bat population.

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Filed by James Gerken  |