- ninemsn.com.au / bite-fears-as-qld-bat-rescuers-inundated
- medicalsearch.com.au / lyssavirus-bite-fears-as-qld-bat-rescuers-inundated
Bat Conservation and Rescue Queensland president Louise Saunders says the group is stretched to the limit and needs more funding and volunteers to cope with demand.
"We're doing the worst number of rescues that we've experienced since we started in 2007," she told AAP.
So far this year volunteers have rescued 440 bats in greater Brisbane - up from 240 over the same period last year.
The majority of call-outs are for flying foxes caught in fruit tree netting.
Ms Saunders fears people will try to rescue bats themselves if the group isn't able to respond - putting them in danger of being bitten or scratched.
Last week an eight-year-old Cairns boy died from the bat-borne Australian Bat Lyssavirus after being scratched or bitten while on holiday in the Whitsundays more than two months ago.
It is the third confirmed case of the virus of which it is thought just half a per cent of bats carry.
The other victims also died.
Ms Saunders says the rescue group receives no government funding and relies on donations to survive.
Currently there are about 35 volunteer rescuers with the organisation.
However, just eight are readily available to help the 12 bats that need rescuing daily.
A further 50 volunteers are needed to meet demand, Ms Saunders says.
Bats that can't be saved are euthanased while the rest are fed and medicated for a minimum of 10 days until they come right and can be released.
Volunteers, who fork out about $1000 for equipment, house the bats in cages at their own homes - with one woman hosting over 60 at a time.
Ms Saunders says far fewer bats would need to be rescued if people fitted bat-friendly netting such as Hailguard which has a tighter weave compared to other netting.
"It's a risk to human health by using the horrible netting because not only bats but venomous snakes can get caught in it," she said.
* Anyone bitten or scratched by a bat should wash the area with soapy water before seeking medical advice. A vaccine is available.