A race against time to save bats living in the walls of this north Texas city

June 29, 2018 by Bill Hanna, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

In this downtown of old, empty buildings, the Bat World Sanctuary has been racing against time.

For years, have been living in the walls, ceilings and ducts of these old buildings, largely undisturbed.

But that is beginning to change.

More of these old buildings are starting to get renovated, bringing the bats into conflict with humans.

For the last six weeks, Amanda Lollar and her team of volunteers, have been conducting rescues around Mineral Wells, finding bats hidden inside the old vacant buildings. Most have been female and many were pregnant or had just given birth.

A look at Bat World's Facebook page shows numerous posts about rescued bats. Updated rescue logs are posted on the rescues on Bat World website.

In one downtown store, bats were hanging against air conditioning vents and inside the ducts. There were also some found in a wall behind a bathroom.

Lollar made a makeshift "ladder" out of lace so more bats trapped on the floor could crawl out overnight. They returned the next day and rescued them.

"It's keeping us very, very busy," Lollar said. "So far, we've rescued over 200 bats over the last six weeks. Many have been critically dehydrated. Some have been on the brink of death."

These issues will continue as more buildings get facelifts in Mineral Wells.

"We knew this was coming," Lollar said. "The whole downtown has been in such a state of decay—it's allowed bats to go into the crawl spaces of a lot of vacant buildings. The bats have just made it a home and nobody really cared about it but now that's changing."

From mid-May to mid-September female bats are giving birth to pups.

"These are not the times you should exclude bats," Lollar said. "If you do, you can leave the young inside to slowly starve to death. They'll end up crawling through vents. You can end up with thousands of little dead bodies in your and nobody wants that."

Once the Mexican free-tailed bats or Brazilian free-tailed bats are found, they are brought to the sanctuary in rural Parker County east of Mineral Wells where Bat World nurses them back to health and release them into the man-made habitat called the Bat Castle, which is designed to resemble a 100-year-old sandstone building.

The interior is designed to resemble the abandoned buildings from where they were rescued.

The sanctuary also has that have been rescued from research labs, the exotic pet trade, or retired from zoos.

In 2016, Bat World earned accreditation from the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. The sanctuary was credited by the federation with training more than 400 veterinarians, biologists and zoologists around the world.

Explore further: Do bats adapt to gates at abandoned mines?

5 shares

Related Stories

Do bats adapt to gates at abandoned mines?

June 20, 2018

Abandoned mines can serve as roost sites for bats, but because the mines pose serious risks to humans, officials often install gates at their entrances. With more than 80,000 abandoned mines in the southwestern United States, ...

Wind farms along mountain ridges may negatively affect bats

November 1, 2017

By attaching miniaturized Global Positioning System tags to cave bats near a mountain ridge in Thailand, researchers have shown that bats repeatedly use mountain slopes to ascend to altitudes of more than 550 m above the ...

Population boom at Philippine bat sanctuary

February 7, 2011

Millions of fruit bats are flocking to a cave sanctuary on a small Philippine island and reproducing wildly as humans become an increasing threat to other nearby habitats, according to a conservationist.

Feeding habit of Malaysian fruit bats

September 29, 2017

The lesser short-nosed bat, Cynopterus brachyotis, is the most common bat in Peninsular Malaysia and can be found in natural and logged forests, plantations, farms, villages, cities, and towns. Lesser short-nosed bats feed ...

Recommended for you

Fish-inspired material changes color using nanocolumns

March 20, 2019

Inspired by the flashing colors of the neon tetra fish, researchers have developed a technique for changing the color of a material by manipulating the orientation of nanostructured columns in the material.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.