Hundreds of bats rescued from a winter storm that hit the US last week were finally able to return to their home in Texas last night. Bats almost froze to death in the storm bringing a blast of cold air from the North Pole down to the Lone Star State and much of the continental United States.
Mexican free-tailed bats begin to fall from their nests as temperatures drop below freezing
Mexican free-tailed bats began to leave their nests when temperatures dropped below freezing on the evening of December 22, According to the Humane Society of Houston. At a colony under Waugh Bridge in Houston, small bats swoop down the sidewalk 15 to 30 feet. In hypothermic shock, the bats may have died on the pavement. Weighing about half an ounce, these creatures don’t have much body fat to keep warm.
But the Houston Humane Society moved quickly with a “cold shock” bat rescue initiative at Waugh Bridge and another colony in Brazoria County. You can check out some neat videos about the effort on Houston Humane Society’s Facebook Page. “Amazingly, most of the bats survived,” the group said on Facebook on December 24. By December 26, they had rescued 1,544 bats.
While more than 50 bats require “more intensive care,” most of them “just need heat support and hydration to quickly kick-start their systems,” the Humane Society of Houston said in a post. On Facebook. “They will be kept, with special care and nutrition, until the weather warms up and they can be released.”
Fortunately, the weather was just right for yesterday’s release. Human society even set up a Facebook Events to invite the public to come see the bats return home. About 700 bats were returned to their colony under Waugh Bridge on Wednesday night. “Hundreds” more were returned to a separate colony at the Pearland Fite Road Bridge in Brazoria County.
But even after this success story, the Humane Society of Houston is poised for future weather disasters. Its Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Coalition (TWRC) is Fundraising for a new building, said to include “a dedicated bat room.”
Mary Warwick, HHS TWRC’s Wildlife Director, said: “It’s really helpful in these situations as we continue to see these strange weather patterns occur. videotapes post on Facebook. She takes video in her attic, where she keeps many of the rescued bats in two dog kennels. “We could actually use more space to rehabilitate the bats,” she said.
The Mexican free-tailed bat is the most common type of bat flying around Texas and is the “official flying mammal of the state”. They usually spend the winter in Mexico, but will move North to give birth and raise young in large “maternity colonies” in early spring. Bats need warm and humid homes for their growing families—usually in caves, but they will also do it in bridges and tunnels.