Keep Austin Batty - See the Bats in Downtown Austin

Posted by Front Desk on Thursday, August 17th, 2017 at 11:17am.

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Whether you call Austin home or you're just visiting, you probably know that sunset is the perfect time to experience viewing the legendary South Congress bats take flight. The Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge is home to the largest urban bat colony in the world and houses up to 1.5 million Mexican-free tailed bats every summer. Their migration places them in Austin from March through November and in Mexico for the remaining calendar year. These somewhat misinterpreted creatures provide a natural pest control by eating 20-30 thousand pounds of insects each night! But most importantly bring our Downtown Austin community together for a spectacular show. 

With the last few weeks of summer fast approaching, you will want to catch them while you can! Every night from 8-9pm bats will emerge from under the bridge and perform a 45 to 60-minute flight onto the skyline. In addition to regular downtown parking options, dedicated parking areas are nearby at the Austin American Statesman and Auditorium Shores. With the sunset as the bat's background, viewing a flight is a great way to spend an evening outside with friends and family.  

Although these little guys love to explore the night, there are precautions to take if they ever decide to explore your home! Just like birds, bats also end up flying through open windows or doors and can take up to 18 hours to find their way outside again! Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department give us a few tips on how to handle:

  • Bats will generally leave a building or home on their own or when coaxed.
  • Never try to catch a bat yourself. Immediately call 3-1-1 for assistance! 
  • IF you do need to remove a bat on your own always wear thick gloves, use a large container or jar to trap it and quickly slide a solid surface over the opening & release the bat outdoors. 
  • To encourage a bat outdoors leave windows open, close any doors to the room and keep any lights ON.
  • For any bats found sick or dead on your property or in your home remember not to remove it yourself and contact 3-1-1! 

These may be fun, exciting animals to watch but bats, like any other animal, can carry many different diseases. For that reason, you should always stay cautious and call the professionals! 

Just in case you are interested - below are buildings that have great viewing vantages for the bats!

If you or anyone you know could have been in contact with a bat, please call the Austin/Travis County HHSD’s Disease Surveillance Unit at 972-5555 or your local health care provider. 

photo courtesy of batsinaustin.com

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