Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration
Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

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

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

View Photo Gallery

Along Roads - Texas
Updated: 12/12/2012
HEP Home Planning Environment Real Estate
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000

All Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) information technology systems will be unavailable, Friday, December 2, at 10:00 p.m. to Sunday, December 04, at 11:59 p.m., EDT, while work is being performed on the network. During that time, users will not be able to access any FHWA systems.

If you have any questions or problems, please contact the 5-Help Service Center @ (866) 466-5221 or