Springtime in Canyon means more than just warmer weather and flowers, it means bats! Each year, millions of bats migrate in and through Texas on the way to their summer homes. Just a few hours south of the Panhandle, around 500,000 bats live in an abandoned rail tunnel at the Caprocks Canyon State Park. And while that seems like a long distance from here, Canyon sees it's fair share of cave dwellers throughout the summer months.

Mexican Free-tailed bats begin their migration period around April and May and they stay here through September. The City of Canyon and the Canyon Police Department are urging residents to use caution when it comes to these winged creatures. While bats are tremendously helpful in controlling the bug and insect population, around 5-10% of Mexican Free-tailed bats test positive for rabies. Canyon residents are asked to notify CPD or Animal Control if a bat is found inside a residence. Once captured, the bats will be sent off for testing and the homeowner will receive the results. From there, medical treatment maybe needed. Even if you don't think you have come in contact, bat bites are very small and sometimes unnoticeable.

Officials also advise against handling bats found outside the home. Animal Control should be notified so they can dispose of the bats properly. These bats will not be tested unless the homeowner comes in direct contact with it. Dead bats found in resident's yard should also not be handled. Any pets that come in contact should be taken to a veterinary for examination and possible quarantine. Officials will not respond to bats seen just flying around a residence.

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