Hundreds of Bats Freeze in Texas


Hundreds of bats needed to be rescued amidst the freezing temperatures. | Image by HitchHike/Pexels.

Texans are not the only ones not accustomed to the recent low temperatures. Last week, the director of Houston’s Humane Society took in nearly 1,600 bats that had fallen to the ground due to hypothermic shock.

Mary Warwick told reporters that she was out shopping for the holidays when she took stock of the freezing temperatures and suddenly became concerned for the local bats. Driving over to Waugh Drive Bridge, she spotted over a hundred laying frozen on the ground.

Between December 22 and December 23, temperatures in Houston dropped from 58 degrees to 15 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. 

Warwick — the only rehabilitator of bats in Houston — took them home to warm them in incubators and planned efforts to rescue the others. Then two days later, she got a call about more than 900 other bats from a colony in nearby Pearland, Texas.

In a span of three days, a total of 1,544 Mexican free-tailed bats were taken in, according to the Houston Humane Society.

Rescuers were able to save the bats by keeping them warm in incubators and administering fluids, but since the Humane Society facilities were not large enough, Warwick kept the bats in dog kennels in her attic. 

About 700 of the bats were let back into the wild under Waugh Drive Bridge on Wednesday after temperatures warmed up and more releases are scheduled there and in Pearland. 

Warwick said that over 100 died due to the cold; some died because the fall from the bridges killed them. Others require further rehabilitation before they can be released. 

Large bat colonies are a hallmark of tourism in Texas, which is home to 32 of the 47 species of bats found in the United States.

The Houston Humane Society’s Texas Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is now working towards updating its facilities to include a “bat room.”

“That would really help in these situations where we continue to see these strange weather patterns come through,” Warwick said.

The Center is asking for the community’s support to make these necessary renovations.

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26 days ago

I can’t believe anyone would take in bats.