KANGAROOS are invading swimming pools and eagles are diving into dams as a record heatwave bakes the Red Centre.Alice Springs has recorded a top temperature of more than 40C every day of the new year, while the tourist hotspot of Yulara, near Uluru, has been even more sunburnt, with 15 days in a row above 42C.
Sixteen people at Yulara have been treated for heat stress, one of whom had to be flown to Alice Springs.
Forecaster with the Bureau of Meteorology, Ben Suter, said the weather was caused by stagnant air that sat above the desert sands, heating up each day.
A slow moving monsoonal trough in the Top End made it worse, by not providing the moisture and cloud further south that could cool things down.
Cynthia Lynch, from Wildcare Inc in Alice Springs, which looks after injured creatures, said there had been at least a 400 per cent increase in the number of birds in distress.
These included raptors, large birds of prey common to Australia's northern desert regions.
"I had someone rang me the other day saying they were having a swim in a dam and one of the raptors fell straight into it, out of the sky," Ms Lynch said.
She knew of at least four people who said the raptors had taken to their swimming pools.
The kangaroos, many likely to have been caught up in bushfires, are also getting desperate.
"They are coming down into town and they come down to the swimming pools to get a drink," Ms Lynch said.
"This morning I got a little joey in from a bushfire, and the mother was obviously fleeing from the fire and has thrown it."
Relief may finally be in sight though, with a change late Thursday cooling things down, and Friday expected to bring a drop to "only" 35C.