GREEN
01/08/2014 04:36 pm ET | Updated Jan 25, 2014

Why 100,000 Dead Bats Fell From The Sky In Australia

Something unusual rained down on residents of Queensland, Australia, over the weekend.

In a bizarre incident, thousands of bats reportedly fell from the sky in the northeastern state. While the mass deaths may seem baffling, it appears Australia's heat wave is to blame.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals confirmed that about 100,000 bats recently died as the likely result of extreme heat in the region, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

"The heatwave was basically a catastrophe for all the bat colonies in southeast Queensland," RSPCA spokesman Michael Beatty told ABC. "That's obviously going to have a pretty disturbing impact on those colonies and those colonies are vital to our ecosystem."

While many in North America suffer through a "polar vortex," Australian residents are experiencing temperatures near 110 degrees Fahrenheit and higher.

"It's a horrible, cruel way to die," Bat Conservation & Rescue Queensland President Louise Saunders told The Courier Mail. "Anything over 43 degrees [109 degrees Fahrenheit] and they just fall."

Residents of towns in the Australian state awoke over the weekend to find dozens of dead bats littering their yards. Dayboro resident Murray Paas posted footage on YouTube showing an estimated 1,000 dead bats on his property.

Queensland health authorities have advised people to leave the bats be and instead contact local wildlife services to remove the carcasses from properties.

"If you find a bat it is very important not to touch it because of the risk of infection with Australian bat lyssavirus," Chief Health Officer Dr. Jeannette Young said in a statement. "Some bats may appear dead but they are not and when people have attempted to remove them they have been bitten or scratched."

However, some have complained that local town councils do not have the resources to remove the dead bats quickly enough. Though wildlife services and trash collectors have cleaned up thousands of the carcasses, there are still many remaining -- and they're reportedly causing quite the stink.

ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

Animals In The News

CONVERSATIONS