Houston's "Bats on the Bayou" event to feature natural wonder

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Houstonians are invited to "Bats on the Bayou," an event for people to see the city's bats (Image Source: Wikimedia)

There are more than 1,300 types of bat species in the world. Roughly 12 of those are right here in Houston. And this evening, you're invited to a free event at Watonga Park, right off T.C. Jester, to view thousands upon thousands of bats.

During the day, this is home to a wide variety of wildlife.

Houston Parks & Recreation's Jed Aplaca said, "Watonga Park, along with several other parks we have along White Oak Bayou here, and a nice green space here that provides a lot of opportunity for people to be outside and recreate."

But as the sun sets, the "other residents" take flight.

Ecologist Cullen Geiselman, of the Houston Parks Board, said, "The bats will come out around a little after 8."

Geiselman has been studying bats for quite some time now.

He explained, "First they'll do some circling under the bridge. And then they'll come out in what we call columns. Kind of looks like smoke. And they're doing that as a predator avoidance. Think about a heard of zebra running. That it's hard for a predator to pick out one bat."

The Mexican Free Tail bats will be in the tens of thousands. It's sort of a feeding frenzy and a sight to be seen.

Geiselman said, "But a lot of them will be flying off to feed at some relatively high altitudes. About 1,000, 1,500 feet on migratory moth species that are some of our biggest crop pests."

The Houston Parks Board, in partnership with the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, along with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department are inviting everyone of all ages to come out to view "Bats on the Bayou." It's free event that starts around 6:30pm, and your chance to learn about something a little different in H-town.

"Well they seem to do everything opposite from humans," Geiselman said. "But they're mammals. They hang upside down, they come out at night. They echo locate. They can all see, but they use that in order to see with sound."

Attendees are encouraged to bring folding chairs, blankets and bug spray. Parking is limited so you may need to walk if you live close by.

For more information, go to the Houston Parks & Recreation site and the Houston Parks Board website.
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