Houston Humane Society Rescue Bats From Winter Freeze To Successfully Release Them Into The Wild

January 20, 2023
2 mins read

The Houston Humane Society has been rescuing bats from winter freeze. Following a rescue attempt to save the bats from freezing temperatures, the Houston Humane Society announced on December 28 that it had successfully released just under 700 Mexican free-tailed bats to a colony beneath the Waugh Drive bridge at Buffalo Bayou. 

According to Anna Saxton, marketing and event coordinator at the Wildlife Center, five of the 693 bats released on December 28 were returned to the non-profit Wildlife Center for rehabilitation. A crowd of about 100 people gathered to observe the release. “We would consider this a very successful release,” she stated. “Everyone on our end is thrilled. It was hectic managing that many bats, but we are very proud,” she added. 

The rescue operation was led by Mary Warwick, the Houston Humane Society’s wildlife director and the city’s only trained bat rehabilitator. Knowing that cold conditions expected in the Houston area on December 22, Warwick understood the bats could suffer hypothermic shock, causing them to lose their grip on the bridge and plummet to the concrete ground, potentially killing or injuring themselves. “If she hadn’t had that forethought to go down and take that initiative and check on those bats, it could’ve been such a different outcome,” Saxton stated. 

According to the statement, bats were retrieved from the ground, placed in warming boxes and incubators, and given IV fluids to help them recuperate. During the rehab process Warwick maintained the bats in separate kennels for each colony in her attic, which officials said gave an optimum temperature to generate hibernation-like circumstances. Under the bridge, they installed padding to avoid injuries from falls. 

The bridge is one of the state’s bat-watching hotspots, attracting hundreds every evening around dusk to see their flight. In addition to the 693 bats recovered on Waugh Drive, the Houston Humane Society rescued 909 bats from a Pearland colony. 

After raising awareness of the situation, the Humane Society noticed an increase in community assistance, including people collecting bats and transporting them to the Wildlife Center, according to Saxton. She did, however, emphasize to members of the public the significance of handling bats safely—using gloves or other ways to avoid contacting bats with bare hands.

“If a human touches a bat with their bare hands, what will end up happening is that bat will have to be euthanized,” Anna Saxton stated, who also noted bats could have rabies. 

Saxton further stated that the Houston Humane Society is gathering funding for a new and permanent Wildlife Center for rescuing more animals. The non-profit is currently situated in a leased space in a Hammerly Boulevard strip mall. 

According to Anna Saxton, donations can be given to the Jeannie Gresko Memorial Building  Fund, established in remembrance of a lifelong volunteer. Gresko’s husband Mark started the fund with a $100,000 donation and has pledged to match it with another $100,000  donation if the organization can generate $100,000 on its own by August. Additionally, the  

The new facility, the site of which is unknown, would have a dedicated bat room and other accommodations to cater to specific sorts of wildlife. The organizational building would also have instructional classrooms where the non-profit may hold scout groups, homeowners associations, and summer camps, among other activities.

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