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Wildlife Protection

Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Patience and Resourcefulness Protect Mexican Free-Tail Bats

What do you do when bats use the front door to enter a building and when they nest under rest-area picnic tables? At the Van Horn Maintenance Shop owned by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Mexican free-tail bats calling it "home" used to enter by the employees' door. When TxDOT purchased a bat house from Bat Conservation International and hung it on the north side wall, the bats ignored it, and they managed to find their way past foam-sealed holes back into the cinder-block walls. TxDOT sealed off wall holes two more times and waited. Finally the bats discovered the bat house and have been living in it ever since. A 2nd bat house installed on the east side wall was immediately occupied. At the Wild Horse Rest Area on US 62/180, TxDOT faced a different "bat challenge"...the bats relied on the rest area for their food supply since the location was the only well-lit spot for miles around. A nearby cattle tank provided a source of water. Covered picnic tables in the rest area offered safe shelter, but travelers were naturally reluctant to share their tables with the bats. A bat house was hung on the pump house wall, and like the second Van Horn bat house, it was occupied right away.
 
--Aug 21, 2006

Ron Groves, (915) 790-4387 or RGROVES@dot.state.tx.us

The bat boxes mounted on the building.
TxDOT photo
The bat boxes mounted on the building.

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Along Roads - Texas
Updated: 12/12/2012
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