98 Baby Orphan Fruit Bats Take Brisbane by Storm

Orphaned by Cyclone Yasi, the flying foxes recover in an Australian hospital.

Fruit Bats Orphans SIZE.jpg

98 Baby Orphan Fruit Bats Take Brisbane by Storm
One of the 98 orphan baby fruit bats relocated to Brisbane, Australia, mugs for the camera. (Photo: CourierMail.au.com)

With their leathery wings wrapped in bright swaddling blankets, and eager fox-like faces sucking on nipples, 98 baby orphan fruit bats have arrived in Brisbane, Australia, from their native Tolga, in Far North Queensland, Huffington Post reports.

Rachel Sloan, a caregiver for the bats, told the AP it has been difficult caring for them. "Well it's like a new newborn baby, but you've got 100 of them," she said.

Known as spectacled flying foxes, the bats, already considered vulnerable, were forced out of their homes in canopy trees by Cyclone Yasi. Left to forage on the ground, the bats are believed to have lost their parents to an outbreak of tick paralysis in the forest around Tolga.

The adorable tykes are also pollinators, key players in healthy forest eco-systems. The RSPCA Australia's Michael Beatty told AP, "Without the flying foxes, there are no forests. They simply die out."

The Sydney Morning Herald writes that The Tolga Bat Hospital has been flooded with flying foxes and excess orphans were flown to Brisbane. The bats are expected to return home to Tolga in January.