… a lightning fast flyer whose flat wing profile is reminiscent of a soaring eagle. The adult females rehabilitating in our flight cage attain high speed with an ultra-efficient pulsing motion, and are very challenging to capture in photos.
They are a large bat and the pups take a long time to develop, putting them at risk to tree trimming before they learn to fly from their palm tree roosts around mid-July. The pups are often blonder in color than the adults.
per Allan Chaney’s Key to Mammals of Texas FA 51-63 mm WT 15 g – 28 g
Soon after mid-July, however, they become amazing flyers in their own right. At that time, even nursing pups that have trouble eating a whole mealworm can flush off the mum and perform wonderful aerial feats. (Disclosure: The moon in this photo was photoshopped in to cover a round thermometer at the suggestion of a friend.)
Below is a yellow bat flying just before a Barred Owl flew over the cage with a bluejay in its talons. She saw the shadow of the owl and crashed into her protective palm fronds just before the owl passed overhead. There was no activity for the next few hours in the aviary!
Wild Yeller – This bat was blown out of a palm tree in January 2016. She broke a tooth in the fall and we made sure it did not abscess, then released her back into her home palm tree on a blustery, warm January night. Just imagine this photo if her canine was still intact! These are formidable bats!
And here is a link to the IUCN Red List species information
This gallery includes some of our favorite rehab bats. It’s a joyful experience to raise these pups and share a deep bond with them, then, when the time is right, release them into the wild to go make more baby bats!
Although the species is not endangered, individual Southern and Northern Yellow Bats are at risk from unadvised, ill-performed, and untimely pruning of the skirt of brown fronds around the top of palm trees. We think palm trees look wrong without the skirt and it is incredibly important habitat in arid climates. Pruning in the summer months, when the pups have been born but have not yet learned to fly, is a tragically unnecessary occurrence that is as predictable as the Fourth of July.
Please don’t prune or “clean” the palm frond skirts from late spring through early fall. We see the annual suffering it causes in the injured and orphaned yellow bats.