Hundreds of bats returned to their colonies following SE Texas' freezing temps

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Monday, January 22, 2024
Over 200 bats returned to their colonies after Texas freeze
The Houston Humane Society said hundreds of bats rescued during Texas' arctic blast last week were released on Sunday.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Hundreds of bats are back home after last week's hard freeze in southeast Texas.

More than 200 bats were released to their colony beneath the Waugh Bridge in Buffalo Bayou Park on Sunday.

The Houston Humane Society said it rescued the bats from the frigid temperatures that caused them to go into hypothermic shock, lose their grip on the bridge, and fall to the ground.

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As southeast Texas underwent back-to-back nights of freezing temperatures, wildlife in Houston and Galveston were saved from the cold weather.

The organization said of the 2,500 bats collected, 1,644 were also released back to their colonies, including many from Spring, Cypress, and Pearland.

"I think it's very important that we're bringing these back 'cause they're a huge part of our area," Houston Humane Society manager Tiffani Gallardo said. "Everyone knows about these bats, and not only are they able to be a cool sight to witness - you get to learn about them because you see something and you're like, 'Oh, this is pretty neat.' They help us save billions in agricultural costs because we're not having to use pesticides to keep the crops alive."

"Sadly, despite Houston Humane Society Wildlife Center's efforts to save every one of the cold-stunned creatures, 803 bats did not survive their falls from the bridges," the organization said in a press release.

Wildlife deputy director Kelsey Malan said the release is always their favorite part of the rescue process.

"It really affects us to see them as they're falling from the bridges when we're collecting them, so it's a very sad process for us during, and so the process of healing them is definitely - it feels good to be helping them, but releasing them is the best feeling. That's why we do it - we want them to get back out to the wild," Malan said.