Bats Build Barracks Under Bridge

Austin has its own bat bridge and in case you weren’t aware so does Houston. There is a colony of Mexican Free Tail bats inhabiting the bridge at Waugh Drive between Memorial Drive and Allen Parkway. I’ve seen the bats in batsAustin as they leave there perch on a nightly basis to hunt for food. It does look neat to watch as the bats take off in a growing mob on their trek for survival. However, there is also a certain danger associated with these creatures due to the diseases they can carry, like rabies. The Buffalo Bayou Partnership has canoe tours that spotlight the bats under the Waugh bridge. They also have a PDF about the bats with a small F.A.Q. For information on rabies, check out this article.

Thanks Katya for suggesting this story!

**Photo courtesy of batworld.org (http://www.batworld.org/wild_sanctuary/wild_sanctuary.html)

4 Comments so far

  1. Laura (unregistered) on May 31st, 2006 @ 12:25 pm

    It’s always been possible for bats to carry rabies. Now is no different. There is NO increase in the amount of bats having rabies now. The only thing is that more media attention has been given due to the poor young man who died from rabies.

    PLEASE PLEASE don’t fuel any anti-bat sentiment for these peaceful creatures that eat their weight in mosquitoes! Other animals are just as likely to carry rabies – squirrels, stray (or just “let out) cats and dogs, rats, etc.

    Fortunately, bats are protected creatures in Texas. At least when they are nesting.

    I realize – you are NOT saying anything that is “anti-bat”. And I’m not “bat-crazy”. I’m just concerned about negative attention being paid to these wonderful animals. I recently read a story about someone finding bats and killing them. Just out of fear.


  2. shawn (unregistered) on May 31st, 2006 @ 12:40 pm

    Oh no, I certainly harbor no ill will towards our nocturnal neighbors. Bats = good for economy, good for ecology :-). The colony in Austin is somewhat of a tourist attraction and bats do really good crowd control in light of how many insects they eat. Ahhhh, nature’s version of Off, hehe.


  3. Jen (unregistered) on May 31st, 2006 @ 4:20 pm

    I run along Allen Parkway a few evenings a week, and the chirping (and guano smell) of the Waugh Bridge bats is unmistakeable. :) Around 8pm, there’s always a crowd of people gathered on either side of the bridge waiting for the bats to emerge for the night.

    :)


  4. katya (unregistered) on June 1st, 2006 @ 1:20 pm

    I always love watching the families stand by the bridge to watch the bats, although we’ve yet to make it there ourselves… because we’re silly like that I guess :)

    It kind of irritated me hearing so many people freak out about them after that last fatal rabies case. Bad things happen – not all bats are evil rabies-carrying attackers. Argh. Good post and good comments!!



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