Following freezing temperatures experienced across Texas last week, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is receiving several reports of bat fatalities.
Sharing an update on its Facebook page, the state agency warns Texans never to attempt to handle bats, dead or alive, as many colonies are being found frozen under overpasses throughout the state.
According to the Houston Zoo’s bat specialist and naturalist Suzanne Jurek, Winter Storm Uri largely impacted bats as they had already used most of their fat reserves, leaving them vulnerable.
“The main concerns were dehydration and low body weight,” Jurek said. “There were additional bats that were down but were doing well enough to climb or be placed on a vertical surface so they would be able to drop into flight at dusk to eat and fill up those reserves.”
According to Jurek, many bats across Houston were saved and taken to a rehab facility in the Lake Jackson area.
“We may continue to have some bats die from the aftereffects of the freeze but should be through the worst of it,” Jurek said.
Texas Parks and Wildlife is recording wildlife mortalities due to Winter Storm Uri.
To help, the department says Texans can report their findings of dead bats to the iNaturalist project.