Houston, Texas– The freeze is having a severe impact on wildlife, and Houston’s largest bat colony is at risk. Cold temperatures send bats into hypothermic shock, and they die if they can’t warm up.
The town’s only bat rehabilitator planned to make regular trips to Waugh Bridge until the frosts set in to do her part in the bat rescue.
Mexican freetail bats live between the crevices of the bridge, but it’s not warm enough to protect them from the weather. When their bodies go into shock, they fall to the sidewalk. The Humane Society’s wildlife director put foam on the ground to give them a soft landing pad and she took nearly 200 home for rehabilitation on Friday.
Mary Warwick, director of the Houston Humane Society Wildlife, single-handedly saved our Mexican free-tailed bats from freezing to death with a flashlight and a collection box. She carefully placed the cold-stunned bats next to a heat source to raise their body temperature.
“After that, we put liquids under their skin to keep them hydrated,” she explained. “Then, a few hours later, we can start offering them food.”
The colony of Waugh Bridge had a population of about 300,000 prior to traumatic weather events such as Hurricane Harvey, the February 2021 freeze and now this last winter freeze. Warwick said traumatic weather events like these could be enough to force the bats to find a new home outside of Houston.
“We could lose them,” Warwick fears. “They could wander further south. I dont know. I hope we can keep them. I hope if we can build a community that cares for them through things like this so we can keep them here longer.”
Warwick said our ecosystem needs the bats to eat pests like moths and mosquitoes. It’s a nice favor for people that we can give back with the right attitude and the right tools.
“All you have to do is get a box or shoe box. Take some cardboard. Sweep them in the box. keep her warm Keeps her dry. ‘ Warwick said.
The Houston Humane Society’s wildlife department number is 713-468-8972. If you encounter a bat, you should also be careful not to touch it with your bare hands.
After rehab and after being frozen, the bats are released to rejoin the colony.
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https://abc7.com/texas-winter-freeze-arctic-front-bats-in-houston-frozen/12610346/ Texas winter freeze sends Houston’s bats into hypothermic shock falling off the Waugh Bridge