HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Bats, of all things, have taken over or at the very least have made themselves right at home at a Houston office building. It’s an especially bizarre bat story for you on this exceptionally odd date, Friday the 13th of July.
The nocturnal night birds have been known to hang out a quarter of a million deep under the Waugh Street bridge at Allen Parkway, but this is something new. There are bats covering the side of an office building in southwest Houston.
"Everybody’s talking about them today at the office,” says Dave Rojas with a smile. On this Friday the 13th, Rojas says he was surprised when a co-worker told him to look out a conference room window and he saw countless bats roosting in the daylight in the open on his workplace building.
"They were moving around a little bit and you could hear them through the window even,” describes Rojas.
"It’s unusual to see them out, exposed like this," explains Harris County Public Health director of veterinary public health Dr. Michael White. "Usually they get under some kind of cover.”
In fact, when FOX 26 News sent Rojas’ video to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department East Texas regional director in Austin, his first two words were, “I’m impressed”. Stephen Lange says he’s never seen anything like this. Neither has Dr. White.
"Normally, bats like being in a protected area like in an attic, under a bridge, somewhere there’s protection from the environment,” describes Dr. White.
Oddly enough, Rojas also found pictures he took from July 2016 of bats hanging out in the same spot. He says they stayed for around a week and then vanished.
“Some people are fascinated by bats," adds Rojas with a smile. "Some people are creeped out. I think it’s neat.”
Dr. White says just like birds, some bats migrate and even hibernate, coming out of hibernation in spring and summer. FOX 26 photographer Matt Matejka also captured video of a bat he saw on the ground, seemingly dead in Hermann Park, when it suddenly starts to move.
“When you find a bat that’s on the ground, that’s a concern because there’s generally something wrong with the bat,” says Dr. White, who reminds you to always steer clear of bats because they can carry and transmit rabies if you’re bitten by them.
Lange says after looking at the video, those are probably Mexican free-tailed bats on the side of the building, commonly seen in this area and he says the bachelor bats from this species sometimes travel in groups and may temporarily roost in exposed areas.