Starving bats in search of food
THE Tweed's bats are going through tough times and a lack of food has forced the animals to invade people's backyards in search of something to eat.
A Bat Conservation and Rescue Queensland spokesperson said a prolonged period of wet weather resulted in nectar and pollen being washed from flowers, and has made it nearly impossible for bats to find the food they desperately need.
Tweed Valley Wildlife Carers bat coordinator Connie Kerr said the situation was improving as winter was coming to an end and more flowers were emerging.
Although bats found or caught recently were underweight, their future looked a little rosier as more and more flowers bloomed and provided nectar and pollen to the animals.
Ms Kerr said the bats were a very important part of the local eco-system and were capable of pollinating certain hardwood trees which could not be pollinated by any other animals including insects and birds.
Bats also pollinated the Eucalyptus trees on which koalas depended, and without the bats koalas would be in an even more vulnerable position.
People's fear of being infected by a bat was not entirely unjustified, however, the chances of actually catching Hendra virus or Australian bat lyssavirus (ABL) were very slim.
If you are bitten or scratched it is important to visit a doctor as soon as possible and receive treatment.
Anyone who encounters a bat caught up in a fence or otherwise is advised to cover the animal with a blanket or towel to calm it, and then call the nearest wildlife carers group so they can recover and care for the animal.
Ms Kerr advised against feeding the bats and said the best way to help the animals was to plant native flowering plants and trees.