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Mexican Free-Tailed Bat

Texas State Flying Mammal

Mexican free-tailed bat in flight; photo by Ron Groves / EOL Learning and Education Group on Flickr (public domain image). 

Official State Flying Mammal of Texas

Texas designated the Mexican free-tailed bat as official state flying mammal in 1995 (Texas also recognizes a state large mammal and a state small mammal). All State Mammals

Bat Facts

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 (10,000 feet or almost two miles) 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.

Senate Concurrent Resolution

WHEREAS, The largest concentration of Mexican free-tailed bats in the world exists at Bracken Cave in Comal County; and

WHEREAS, This particular cave in Texas is known as a summertime nursery cave for a large population of migratory Mexican free-tailed bats whose numbers may exceed 20 million; and

WHEREAS, Mother bats give birth to a single pup in June or early July; at night each mother travels long distances to find enough food, consuming approximately her own body weight in insects; and

WHEREAS, At Bracken Cave, the 20 million bats there devour 250 tons of insects; throughout the summer the number of insects including mosquitos and crop pests disposed of is immeasurable; all of this is accomplished without the use of pesticides; and

WHEREAS, Increasingly, the importance of bats in a healthy ecosystem is being appreciated and protected; this is especially true in Texas; and

WHEREAS, Bat Conservation International is an organization with headquarters in Austin that is dedicated to educating the public about bats and conservation of the species; its members are interested in having the Mexican free-tailed bat recognized as the "Official Flying Mammal" of the State of Texas; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the 74th Legislature of the State of Texas hereby declare the Mexican free-tailed bat the "Official Flying Mammal" of the State of Texas; and, be it further

RESOLVED, That a copy of this resolution be prepared for Bat Conservation International as an expression of the high regard of the Legislature of the State of Texas.