Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Summer Survival - Bats in Texas


There are many creatures that you can run into in the summer. Some are more dangerous than others that you may encounter. In my area of Texas, we have a LOT of bats. Quite often at night, when standing near the light of an outside security light they will come swooping down to feast on the bugs attracted to the light. Thankfully, they have a pretty good sonar system and usually will avoid a collision with you. The main danger from most bats is that they sometimes have rabies and this can be a serious hazard, especially to younger children who may be unaware of the danger from handling bats they may find that have fallen ill and are dying or dead.



This is a picture of a bat that had died which I found in a Crape Myrtle tree in my yard. It was only about 3 feet off the ground and well within reach of many youngsters. They are quite small and this particular one, a Mexican Free-tailed bat, had a wingspan of approximately 10 inches. They consume large amounts of insects which help to keep the insect population under control. Many people build bat houses to attract them since they are a natural predator of mosquitoes and will consume large quantities of mosquitoes when feeding at night.



Using your powers of observation will allow you to find these hazards before a young child can. Children are always curious and quite often see things before you do. Their little brains soak up everything they see and sometimes their curiosity will get them in trouble. Although this bat was dead when I found it, many times they may still be alive and can pose a potential hazard. You should always exercise a proper amount of caution and a great amount of care when dealing with wild creatures, whether they are alive or dead.

You can learn more about the different types of bats in Texas here:

http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/learning/webcasts/caves/battypes.phtml

Got bats?

Staying above the water line!

Riverwalker

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

My wife would claim I have bats in my belfrey, lol.

Good post - we have them down here as well. I've never had a chance to see one up close though.

riverwalker said...

To: anonymous 6:01

They are fun to watch at night as they swoop in to get to the insects.

RW

BTW, some of my friends think I'm a little "batty" also. LOL

Wyn Boniface said...

They buzz me at night when smoking. It creeps me out actually because they come within inches. I wonder where they live though cause there are no caves in my region.

matthiasj said...

When driving in a country road at night I will see them swooping down and eating bugs that attract to your headlights.

matthiasj
Kentucky Preppers Network

riverwalker said...

To: Wyn Boniface
They are probably living under an old bridge or overpass on a road that is not used much...

RW

riverwalker said...

To: matthiasj

So you've got bats also...good to know. They are actually quite common in many areas.

But do you have chupacabras?

RW

FireSteel.com said...

At night bats will often swoop very close to people, who then will often thing the bats are trying to attack them.

What is really happening is the bats are diving for insects, such as mosquitoes, that are attracted to people.

In other words, bats are our friends. They eat huge amounts of pesky insects, so much so that many people try to attract bats by building good nest sites for them.

The Other Mike S. said...

I have a friend with an old redwood barn on his property (circa 1850's) that used to be a bat haven. They estimate it used to house 40k bats - now they're down to ONLY 10k! The upper floors have what look like sand dunes of guano.

The guano is an incredible fertilizer. He started putting it on his citrus trees and berry plants two years ago. He estimates his yield is about triple what it used to be. And the fruit is sweet like sugar.

riverwalker said...

To: FireSteel.com

It also seems that in years when the insects are really bad there also seems to be an increase in the bat population. My daughter wants me to build her a bat house to attract more to her place and keep the ones in her area around....just one more project that I need to complete!Thanks.

RW

riverwalker said...

To: The Other Mike S

Guano is excellent fertilizer! If you're lucky enough to have an area that will support a good -sized colony of bats...instant source of fertilizer!

Unfortunately, I think the use of pesticides for insect control may have something to do with declining bat populations in certain areas. Remove the food source and most critters will move on to greener pastures. Thanks.

RW

Double Tapper said...

Do bats generally fool with dogs? My animals are vaccinated and I would like to build a bat house to help attract the creatures as I find them fascinating and helpful in eating all these danged mosquitoes.

riverwalker said...

To: Double Tapper

Most bats eat insects and fruit and generally won't bother your dogs. I have two dogs and it's not a problem. As long as your pets are vaccinated there shouldn't be a problem. If you have a lot of fruit trees, expect some loss of fruit.

Just Google "bat houses" for some good ideas. Bats are great for a natural way to control insects.

RW

Anonymous said...

My friend found a live Mexican free tailed bat outside her work place. It seems as though he is injured. we want to take him somewhere that he will be nursed back to health and not just put to sleep. if you know anyone we can get a hold of please post back a number or name of an organization that will help this little guy.

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