Last updated: 03:15 PM ET, Sat June 11 2016

Residents of Australian Tourist Town Going Batty Over Uninvited Guests

Impacting Travel | Amy Coyne Bredeson | June 11, 2016

Residents of Australian Tourist Town Going Batty Over Uninvited Guests

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The Australian tourist destination of Batemans Bay has been dealing with hundreds of thousands of unwelcome visitors over the past few months, according to the Associated Press

The population of Australia’s largest bat, the gray-headed flying fox, has soared to 140,000 in recent months, AP reported. This is almost three times the number of this type of bat that were in the area in 2015.   

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Residents don’t want to leave their homes because the bats are dropping feces all over the place, AP said. Children can’t play outside. The smell is so bad that residents won’t open their windows. And the creatures’ screeching sounds are driving people batty.

Local officials want the bats gone, but the winged mammals are a protected native species, AP reported.

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"It's an unprecedented event because we're in uncharted territory with how to manage it," Batemans Bay Mayor Lindsay Brown told AP.

The bats knocked out power to the whole town after flying into power lines on nine consecutive nights in April, AP said.

The bats are not only stinky but could lead to the spread of lyssavirus, which is similar to rabies and has killed three people over the past 20 years in Australia, according to AP.

Next week, the local council will discuss a plan to get rid of the bats by using smoke machines, loud noise and bright lights, AP reported.

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