Australia's new batting line-up

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The Independent Online

It's not only humans who are suffering due to the recent floods in Australia. Some 130 orphaned bats have been found on the Gold Coast during the storm season.

The Australian Bat Clinic and Wildlife Trauma Centre saved 350 youngsters during the 2008 storms, but this year they say there is more to be worried about than bad weather.

Carers have visited several bat colonies on the coast in recent weeks to find four-week-old babies on the ground covered in maggots and fly eggs. "They're coming down to feed on the ground," said director Trish Wimberley. "That makes them vulnerable. It's not a natural occurrence and shows there is trouble in the environment. Bats are a barometer to what is going on in the environment. They're our canaries down the coal mine."

The surviving infants will be bottle fed and kept either hanging on clothes lines or in special intensive care units until they are ready to fly again in about four weeks.