Thirsty bat crashes pool party
August 18, 2006 8:35 AM   Subscribe

Last night, around dusk, there was a bat that was flying erratic figure-eight sorties over my swimming pool in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburbs.

Each time it would dip down and attempt to drink some pool water. Given my location, what kind of bat did I see and what might have drawn him to my backyard (aside from the fact he was thirsty)?

I've lived in the area for three decades and never seen this! We don't live near any caves!
posted by punkfloyd to Pets & Animals (11 answers total)
maybe it was drinking water, or maybe it was catching bugs. probably hard to tell in dusk. not sure on what bats are prevelent in houston, but i do know they do not need to live in caves. any old dark place will do, including things like lawn sheds attic spaces. if you live in a suburban area, there's also a good chance that one of your neighbors has a bathouse.

oh, and you haven't seen them because you haven't been looking hard enough. bats can be hard to spot until you know what you're looking for.
posted by lester at 8:40 AM on August 18, 2006

Bat flight always seems erratic and they'll go anywhere there are flying insects. I don't know what other species are in your area, but the Mexican Freetail bat is prevalent throughout the Southwest.

We often turn on an outside light when we're outside at night just to watch the bats come in to feast on the bugs drawn to the light. Be thankful you have bats on the prowl, they do a good job of keeping the skeeters down.
posted by buggzzee23 at 8:51 AM on August 18, 2006

You know, Austin is like bat central. Maybe this guy just flew a little off-course and thought your pool looked like Town Lake.
posted by mattbucher at 9:01 AM on August 18, 2006

He wasn't trying to drink, he was eating midges and mosquitos attracted to the water. The figure wights were erratic because he was vectoring his flight to collide with and eat the bugs.
posted by orthogonality at 9:06 AM on August 18, 2006

Both Austin and Houston have Mexican freetail bats. I wouldn't be surprised if they have them in DFW as well. They don't need caves; they just live under bridges.
posted by unknowncommand at 9:09 AM on August 18, 2006

According to this, Texas is host to 32 species of bats. Caves aren't really a pre-requisite; there are lots of urban bat colonies. The ones we see here in Austin and at the Bracken cave outside San Antonio are Mexican free-tail bats.
posted by Gilbert at 9:10 AM on August 18, 2006

when i was a kid we used to go see bats at the Botanical Gardens, they were all over the place. and like others said, austin has one of the largest colonies of bats in the states. the ones in austin live under a bridge.

so i never saw bats growing up in texas unless we went looking for them, but there ended up being tons of them.
posted by trishthedish at 9:17 AM on August 18, 2006

When I was a kid in East Texas, the bats were a given at dusk in all my friends' pools. Sometimes it got a little too weird and we would take a break until they were done. I'm pretty sure they're eating the bugs drawn to the water and light.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:04 AM on August 18, 2006

Oh, and you could also see them around the streetlights right at dusk. If you've got streetlights, go look and see if they're there - it's really cool. You think they are little starlings, but they swoop in ways that little birds generally don't.

If you haven't seen them before, they're probably new neighbors - living in trees or under an overpass, or someone near you has put up a bat box for insect control.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:09 AM on August 18, 2006

I have a bat in my house now. He came in through the wood stove two days ago and now I can't find him.

Maybe I should fill up the swimming pool to lure him out.
posted by waldo at 10:49 AM on August 18, 2006

We don't live near any caves!

First of all, that made me laugh. a lot.

Anyway... there are TONS of bats in Texas - although I recently made the move out of state, my last residence sported a bat house. It proved to be a big factor in selling the property quick.

In NE Texas, there are mosquitoes everwhere, and my house was a small leap to the nearest creek. Needless to say, everytime you stepped outside you were eaten alive. I got the bat house - the bats moved in. No more mosquitoes.
posted by bradth27 at 1:35 PM on August 18, 2006

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