AUSTIN, Texas - Last week's freezing weather in Texas has had a devastating impact on the state's bat population.
In fact, Texas Parks & Wildlife biologists say at least 30,000 may have died, most of them Mexican free-tailed bats.
Bats usually head farther south for the winter but some stay put and biologists say as many as 50 percent of bats that didn't migrate may have died from the cold.
The Congress Avenue bridge is the most popular place in Austin to view bats during spring, summer, and fall, but the deep freeze was just too much for bats along the trail. The situation is even worse under the bridges and overpasses in North Austin and Round Rock along I-35.
The co-founders of Austin Bat Refuge say they had 80 bats in their care prior to the storms, but during the past several days, they've taken in more than 1,000. Now, they're working hard to nurse them back to health.
"We're rehydrating them with electrolyte fluids. Subcutaneous injections, injections under the skin. We're feeding them kind of a blended mealworm mixture. And, we're keeping them warm," said Lee Mackenzie and Dianne Odegard with Austin Bat Refuge. "Those are the three things we're doing. Some are responding really well. And others are simply not responding."
The Austin Bat Refuge says they're in immediate need of supplies in order to care for all of the rescued bats. High priority items include insulin syringes with 31-gauge, one-milliliter capacity needles and syringes without needles for giving bats water, and brown recycled paper towels.
Click here to check out the refuge's Amazon wish list. You can also find out how to contact the Austin Bat Refuge if you find a bat that's struggling or make a monetary donation by clicking here.