One of Houston’s best-kept secrets is our bat population. The Waugh Bridge Bat Colony consists of Mexican free-tailed bats that emerge nightly to stretch their wings and feed on area insects.
Unlike many other Texas bat colonies that migrate south during the winter months, the Waugh Bridge Bat Colony remains in Houston throughout the year. This may be the largest colony of Mexican free-tailed bats that resides in Texas all year. The huge majority of bats at other bridges and caves migrate to Mexico for the winter.
The 1.5 million bats at the Congress Avenue Bridge Bat Colony in Austin, for example, begin migrating south to Mexico in the fall months, ending their twilight emergences until the following spring.
Bats play key roles in keeping a wide variety of insect populations in balance. In the U.S., brown bats often eat mosquitoes and can catch up to 1,200 tiny insects in an hour. Large colonies of Mexican free-tailed bats eat tons of pests weekly.
In 2006, a bat observation deck was installed in Buffalo Bayou Park for your convenience in watching the Waugh Street bat colony.