As dogs freeze their tongues to fire hydrants here, in Australia there's an all together different phenomenon going on. Due to record heat, bats are literally falling from the sky.
About 100,000 bats have fallen from the sky and died during a heatwave down under that has left the trees and earth littered with dead creatures, mostly the regal 'flying fox' bats. While it all looks like a scene from a Hitchcok movie, it's very real. The repercussions might be severe, since bats are responsible for eating SO many insects and pollinating flowers.
Health experts have warned residents not to touch the dead creatures amid concerns about the spread of virus or bites and scratches from bats that may still be alive. At least 16 people have received antiviral treatment after coming into close contact with a bat.
Repercussions of the record cold resulting from the co-called Polar Vortex here may be good and bad, depending on your perspective....from a likely die-off of some feral cats and certainly some songbirds having problems able to survive in extreme cold and finding food in snow....to city rats not surviving. Also relatively mild temperatures in recent years is one (of several explanations) for burgeoning tick population numbers, so perhaps few ticks won't make it through this winter, and these same goes for pesky insect. But no one knows...Particularly since the extreme cold (in many places) has only lasted a few days and is followed by record warmth for the time of year, back to cold back to warmth - it's been the warmest and the coldest winter in many places. In some cities on a Monday it's been 0 degrees with wind chills well under 0 and then within 48 to 72 hours it's well above freezing, up to 40 to 50-something degrees. Unheard of.
The U.S and Australia aren't alone when it comes to odd weather....in parts of Europe there's been tons of rain not only the amount of rain, but day after day....and the same has been true for parts of Mexico, where at this time of year, rains should last a few hours or perhaps a day at the most and not continue for many days straight.
While there have been human deaths attributed to the extreme heat Down Under and extreme cold in the US and Canada, people can find protection where wildlife can not. Experts agree is this extreme weather cycle continues economies will be impacted, human health could be, and definitely wildlife - from insects to much larger creatures....but no one knows for sure what that impact will be.
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