Mexican Free-Tailed Bat
Texas designated the Mexican free-tailed bat as official state flying mammal in 1995. Bats are intelligent, unique mammals facing multiple threats of ignorance, suspicion, poisoning, roost destruction, habitat loss, and over-exploitation.
Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) live in caves in the southern US, Central and South America. Their colonies are the largest congregations of mammals in the world. The largest colony found in (near San Antonio) has nearly 20 million bats, which eat around 250 tons of insects per night! Flights like the one pictured above may travel hundreds of miles and fly to an altitude of 3,000 meters to feed on insects at night.
Bats are the only true flying mammal and are unquestioned champions of aeronautics ... our own distant relative, the bones of a bat's wings are essentially the same design as those in human arms and hands (having a thumb and four fingers). The brain of a "flying fox" has more in common with a primate than a rodent.