An Australian town is in a “state of emergency” because it has been overtaken by a swarm of 100,000 bats.
The bats arrived in the aptly named Batemans Bay, located to the south of Sydney bringing with them with an odour and screeching noise that is driving the town’s 11,000 residents ‘bat shit’ crazy.
The grey-headed flying foxes are overrunning the town and the problem is so bad that they are on almost every surface and in every tree.
The Independent reports:
The noisy bats, commonly known as flying foxes, have caused power outages, kept tourists away and hit property prices in the south coast town.
“Well, I think it’s a natural disaster. It’s a disaster for residents, it’s a disaster for the flora and fauna,” said local MP Andrew Constance.
Russell Schneider, of the Flying Fox Task Force, said: ‘This is the biggest, this is unprecedented. They’ve never been seen in these numbers.’
The bats, a protected species that cannot be culled, set up a colony in the town years ago but numbers have multiplied over time, media said.
The NSW Government pledged an additional A$1 million ($719,900) for state councils to manage problem bat colonies on Tuesday. They previously committed A$2.5 million for the “camp of unprecedented size” at Batemans Bay which has disrupted daily routines.
“Every morning, without fail, I have to wash the deck, wash the car,” local resident Kent Lewis said.
Flying foxes, which disperse fruit and pollinate trees, perform a crucial role in the ecosystem.