DEAD BATS: Some of the thousands of bats who suffered horribly in the record-breaking temperatures during 2014.
DEAD BATS: Some of the thousands of bats who suffered horribly in the record-breaking temperatures during 2014. Dee Hartin

Severe heatwave could see bats drop from sky

WIRES volunteers will be on alert this week for the welfare of bats with scorching summer conditions set to blast parts of the Northern Rivers.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned a severe heatwave is expected to continue to sweep the region until Friday, with temperatures peaking today at 40C.

The high temperatures have proved to be deadly for flying foxes in the past.

In 2014, temperatures exceeding 40C in Casino saw up to 5000 flying foxes drop dead over a weekend due to boiling.

Bat coordinator for Wires Northern Rivers, Lib Ruytenberg said volunteers will be on alert this week monitoring bat colonies.

"Bats fan themselves to keep cool but when temperatures tip 40C bats get stressed, particularly when they are young," Ms Ruytenberg said.

She said the deathly event happens every year.

"We had big events in 2014 and 2016 and at the end of last year there were a couple of occasions where we took bats into care."

The influx of bats have at times been labelled a nuisance, but Ms Ruytenberg said the little red flying foxes move up to Queensland this time of the year.

"Just be aware of flying foxes and remember they are natures gardeners and without them we wouldn't have any forest. They are the natural pollinators of eucaplyt."

She warned if you see bat to not touch them, but call an organisation where a vaccinated volunteer will come out.

The heatwave forecast will drop to low-intensity over the weekend.

BoM forecaster Helen Reid said during summer there will be the occasional cooler mass of air coming from the south but this month the cold air is not making its way up.

"This allows air to come down from northern parts of Australia and just keep hanging around and not cooling at all," Ms Reid said.

"Whilst there is a slight fluctuation in temperatures in the southern part of the state a continual warmth up in the north-east is why we have the concept of a severe heatwave for the next few days.

"It's not looking like it will decrease until next week."

Casino is set to swelter with temperatures reaching 40C today 36C tomorrow and Friday, and remaining hot over the weekend with temperatures predicted to sit in the mid 30s.

Today in Lismore there is a chance of a thunderstorm this afternoon with temperatures set to reach 37C, then sitting in the low 30s for the remainder of the week.

Some relief will be found on the coast at night where temperatures will drop to low 20s but the mercury will soar during the day as well with temperatures sitting in the low to mid 30s.

31C today and 30 tomorrow for Byron Bay, and 33C today and 31C tomorrow for Ballina.

Wires advises to put out containers of water and top up bird baths in this weather for birds and all wildlife.

If you see a bat in distress, phone WIRES Northern Rivers, Richmond Valley Council or Northern rivers Wildlife Carers.



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