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Wildlife lives in Mt. City

Teresa Williams emailed, “I have lived in Mountain City for 17 years, and I have never even SEEN a bat, much less had them come visit me on my back porch. This morning, however, I had a group swarming back and forth on my back porch until they landed in the corners. I think there are three: I’m not sure how I feel about my new tenants … is this a good or bad thing?”

“I am fascinated by these guys, but I know all the warnings about rabies. Just enjoy or encourage them to move somewhere else? Let me know … Thanks.” 

From Teresa’s photo, Lee Mackenzie, with Austin Bat Refuge, answered that they were Mexican free-tail bats. “Beneficial, harmless if left alone, fascinating, and vital to the balance of nature.” 

Lee said, “This happens once in a while this time of year, when the free-tailed pups are fledging. When they decide to let go of their roost for the first time, they have to fly, avoid predators, swoop down to drink water on the wing, find their way to the agricultural fields to hunt, catch insects (sometimes at great altitudes), find their way back to the roost, avoid predators again as they return, fly up to where they hang and do a somersault, grab on with their feet and run up into a safe place for the day. All on the first try!” 

“So it’s not surprising that some end up in less than ideal locations in these first days of flight. Thanks for being patient with them and allowing them to figure this all out. And in the meantime, enjoy a glimpse of one of the wonders of the natural world.” 

Foxes in Mountain City are also harmless if left alone and they arefascinating.

On, a Mountain City neighbor posted that Animal Control was phoned when a fox in her front yard growled at her husband. She had concerns about rabies. Protective residents spoke up for leaving the fox alone, with word that the fox have raised young for many years in and around Hemlock. They’ve been seen daily, drinking water placed out for wildlife. Even now, a fox pair has three pups living under a pool deck. The clues seem to say an unseen pup was in the picture when the growl occurred.

Still, prudence calls for staying away from fox, and to keep pets vaccinated against rabies. In July, a rabid fox fought with a dog in San Marcos. The dog had not been vaccinated, so it’s in quarantine at a vet’s office for 90 days, as required by state law.

Marjie Kelley shared about her flea infestation, with anecdotal evidence attributing the infestation to the two fox who hang out under her deck. “Rabies ≠ a problem; fleas = ugh!”

Trish Wells suggested, “Put ole fashioned 20 mule team borax on your carpets overnight. It’s a great deodorizer and fleas eat it and die. Worked for me for 30 years.”

Teresa’s bat pups were gone the next morning. The fox pups are still hanging around.

This columnist calls for keeping tidbits coming. Email (subject: TIDBIT) or leave a message at 512-268-5678.

Thanks! Love to you, Pauline

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