Herself's Houston Garden

Conservation through cultivation


Bats are a problem in this area in that we have had several rabid bats bite people. It’s something straight out of a horror novel. And that is a shame. Because bats are really cool creatures who help keep the insect population in check. Less than 1/2 of 1% of bats carry rabies.

There are 12 species of bats in the general Houston area. 31 bat species reside in Texas. The largest Texas bat is a ‘Western Mastiff Bat’ with a wing span of 21″.

Bats are nocturnal and each one can consume up to 7,000 mosquitoes a night. They are gentle and do not attack unless provoked. They live for an average of 13 years. Bats are not blind but have average sight. They have excellent smell and sound senses and find their prey using sound. A bat sends a pulse of sound from its mouth and listens for the sound to echo off of insects.

Bats can be found nesting in hollow trees, old buildings, under bridges and in caves.

You can place bat houses in your yard as well. Bat houses should be of wood and sealed to keep out water. Paint it dark brown or black and place it where it will receive at least 10 hours of sun per day. Mount bat houses ~15′ high plus or minus 5′ and away from large trees. Bats will settle in in early summer as they migrate back to Houston.

We also have the Waugh Drive Bat Colony here in Houston. The colony lives in the bridge on Waugh Dr across the Buffalo Bayou Park. About 250,000 Mexican Free-Tailed bats live in the bridge year round. You can watch the bats leave the bridge about sunset at nights when the weather is clear and over 50′.

For more information:
Talk on Bats by Dept of Wildlife

Organization for Bat Conservation
Waugh Bridge Bat Colony

Thanks for the photo!