Stay away from bats, even if they can't fly, Australians warned

Flying fox bats (Getty)
Flying fox bats (Getty)

If a sick bat falls from the sky don't try to help it back up, Queensland authorities have warned.

Temperatures in the Australian state have hit the high 30s in recent days, and bats suffering from heatstroke are plummeting to the ground.

Queensland Health (QH) says at least two flying fox bats have succumbed so far, but if you find one, stay away.

"Sometimes flying foxes carry Lyssavirus, which is a very deadly disease," Dr Heidi Carroll of the QH's communicable diseases unit said on Friday.

"We see over 200 cases per year where people have handled bats and need to call health officials.

"In recent weeks we've seen those numbers increasing, which we expected due to the increasing temperatures."

Instead, would-be amateur vets should call a wildlife officer.

In previous years, heatwaves have not only knocked bats out of the sky, but left tens of thousands of the flying mammals dead.

In 2014, rubbish collectors were kept busy after thousands of bat carcasses stank up a small town in Queensland, while the Australian RSPCA said as many as 100,000 may have died across the state.

At least 16 people had to be treated after trying to help the survivors, reported ABC News.