Southern wildlife found battered following surprise cold snap
Wildlife in the Southern U.S. region have been at risk as unprecedented cold temperatures have ripped through the area.
Many animals that rely on warm weather in the winter months, including various birds, bats, alligators and turtles, have faced life-threatening conditions in recent weeks.
“Animals can respond to events like this by moving elsewhere, but if it’s beyond your flight range or your walking range you have to hunker down,” Perry Barboza, a wildlife biologist at Texas A&M University, told The Associated Press.
Barboza noted that the prolonged unusual winter weather has turned uncomfortable situations for many animals deadly.
“Some animals like small birds can do it just a night or two,” Barboza said. “The duration becomes the killer.”
Migratory animals tend to not stock up on food for the winter since they rely on sufficient food supplies in the South.
“You worry about food sources covered in snow — seeds and berries — and a decrease in insect life,” Ben Jones, executive director of the Texas Conservation Alliance, told the AP.
Sea turtle rescue organizations made headlines last week by relocating thousands of turtles, resorting to keeping many in makeshift rehabilitation centers such as convention centers.
Now, more evidence of other animal populations being threatened are appearing, including dead robins littering sidewalks.
Stunned and hungry bats were also reportedly falling out of trees as they tried to brave the trying winter conditions.
“They burned through their energy reserves as they tried to wake up and get away from the cold and ice,” said Kate Rugroden, an Arlington, Texas, rehabilitation specialist, according to the AP. “And there aren’t any insects out there for them to eat yet.”