While most of the northern US was hit with a polar vortex and record cold earlier this month, Australia and New Zealand were hit with a polar opposite record heat wave (see what I did there?).
How hot was it? Australian newspaper, the Star, started off its article with the words “Bats are dropping from trees, kangaroos are collapsing in the Outback and gardens are turning brown.” It was pretty hot, then, with temperatures hitting 50 C (122 F), compared to a historic record of 50.7 C (123.3 F) set in 1960.
If you’re like me, though, the thing that stood out of those reports was the bats. “They succumb (to the heat),” says Louise Saunders, president of the Queensland animal welfare group, Bat Conservation and Rescue. “They just fall in heaps at the base of trees. You can have 250 or more. It’s like dripping chocolate, all dying at the base of trees.”
At least 50,000 bats had been killed by the heat in southeast Australia, including black flying foxes, little red flying foxes, and the endangered gray-headed flying foxes, who cling to trees and urinate on themselves in a bid to reduce their body temperatures, according to Saunders. All of which is pretty much the most depressing thing I’ve read today.
You can check out the images, below, of heat-stricken bats cozied up in icepack blankets at a rescue center, below- as well as a map that shows some of the seriousness of the heat wave. Feel free, also, to share this information with any and all of the mental midgets in your life who claimed that the polar vortex was “proof” that global warming isn’t a thing (after you’re done throat-punching the idiots, of course).