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Rescuing Bats from the Flood Waters of Hurricane Harvey

On Monday, August 28th, 2017, we received word that bats were being affected by rising flood waters created in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, Texas. We immediately reached out to offer our support to several good Samaritans who were already saving bats. However, by Monday evening it became apparent that we needed to head to Houston asap to rescue as many bats as possible.

The bats roosting under bridges were particularly affected as the wind was too strong to allow them to leave their roosts and the water rose too quickly to enable escape. Bats need a drop-off to take flight, and the drop off itself proved deadly as many bats ended up in the rising waters. Those that could take flight became sopping wet from the torrential rains. A small percentage took refuge in nearby parking garages and entrances to office buildings where they remain today, wet, without food, water or a way to escape.

After arriving hours after midnight on Tuesday, Bat World’s Bat Care Specialist Erica Quinzel began rescuing bats before dawn on Wednesday morning. By noon she had already found approximately 200 bats that needed help so she created a makeshift care center in her truck and worked from a parking garage. Thankfully, over half of the 200 bats recuperated after receiving critical fluids (injections of electrolytes) and emergency food (hydrolyzed protein) that allowed almost immediate recovery and the energy needed to take flight.

70 bats needed critical care and were kept overnight. The photo below shows some of these tiny, exhausted beings resting and recovering from their ordeal.

On a bright note, after the water receded from under the Waugh Bridge on Tuesday, chirping could be heard from within the bat roost and thousands of surviving bats were spotted flying out that evening to hunt for insects. The bats that Erica saved were released back to their original colony last night just as their surviving roost mates were emerging.

Sadly, 22 of the bats in the most critical condition did not survive the night. However, most of the remaining bats have responded well to treatment and will be released tonight with only two staying behind due to their injuries.

Word spread about our rescue efforts and we began receiving dozens of calls from the Houston area about displaced bats as well as individuals finding bats on their porches, in their yards and other places. This information was passed on to our rescue team in Houston as it came in.

A huge thank you to everyone who sent donations to help. Your thoughtfulness and compassionate support is appreciated more than you may know.

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