Oh come on, Australia! We’ve already declared you the most epic place on Earth for playing host to practically every kind of scary, deadly or just plain insane creature that’s ever crawled, flown, swum or slithered. What the hell are you trying to prove?
But seriously, when Aussies themselves declare an animal invasion to be a “state of emergency,” you know things have… well, escalated.
Such is the case in Batemans Bay, New South Wales.
According to Sky News, roughly 100,000 grey-headed flying foxes (Pteropus poliocephalus), a giant species of “megabat” native to Australia (of course), have been swarming this town in increasing numbers — to the point where nearly every building, rock, tree and vehicle is practically covered with them.
In fact, the bat epidemic has become so overwhelming that some residents of Batemans Bay are afraid to leave their homes.
“This is unprecedented,” said Russell Schneider of the Flying Fox Task Force. “They’ve never been seen in these numbers.”
The real dilemma for the task force is that the grey-headed flying fox is considered a protected species — which seems pretty ironic, considering from the ground it must look like they’re taking over the planet.
With extermination off the table (officially, anyway), other deterrents are being considered — including the use of smoke and noise to drive the winged hordes away, or clearing away local vegetation to deprive them of their main sources of food.
Time will tell of any of those methods work… but meanwhile, to calm your fears, take a look at some baby grey-headed flying foxes wrapped up like little burritos: