A suburb in New South Wales has been littered with the bodies of thousands of dead bats.
Up to 5,000 of the animals dropped from the trees in Casino, around 600km north east of Sydney on Saturday.
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“They were not only on the ground dead but hanging in the trees dead as well. I saw many young ones around three-four months old clinging to their dead mothers or hanging in the trees next to them.
“It was a horrific sight and I was distressed to see such a massive loss of life.”
Council manager John Walker told the Daily Telegraph: “Some areas across the riverbank are inaccessible and the stench from the rotting carcasses will be quite unbearable for some time yet."
Volunteers from wildlife charity WIRES sprang into action to try and save baby bats, hundreds of which were found dazed as they clung to their dead mothers on the ground.
In a Facebook post it pointed out the massive scale of the operation, stating: “Each of these orphans had to be assessed, hydrated and taken care of individually.”
But the charity urged concerned residents not to try and personally help any of the animals due to the risk of lyssavirus infection from bites or scratches.
Similar to rabies, lyssavirus can cause paralysis and even death.