Archive for April 21st, 2015

Wildlife: Bats and Bridges

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015
Bat watching in Austin

Bat watching in Austin

This is Passport to Texas

When it comes to living arrangements, bats are adaptable. In Texas, for example, millions of Mexican free-tailed bats live comfortably in crevices under bridges.

06—We know from our studies of bats that there’s a very high percentage, especially in Central Texas that, if you build it they will come.

Mark Bloschock, retired from the Texas Department of Transportation as a special projects engineer with the bridge division, and earned the moniker “Batman of TxDOT” due to his passion for the mammals. He said to accommodate bats’ needs he had to “listen” to them.

18—Bats can’t speak to us in English, so they can’t tell us whether this housing that they find in the made environment – or let’s say the man-made environment – is preferred housing or whether it’s desperation housing. But when they go in there to raise their young in these nursery colonies, we think that it must be preferred housing.

It generally costs the same to construct bat friendly bridges, yet when bats colonize under these structures, especially in agricultural areas, everyone profits thanks to their voracious appetite for insect pests.

11—And that means the farmers have to spray less insecticides, or they spray significantly less insecticides. It’s good for us because we eat food with less use of insecticides and we eat food that’s produced cheaper.

You don’t have to build a bridge in your backyard to attract bats. Find information on how to build a bat house on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Web site.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.