Happy Bat Week!
I recently attended the North American Symposium for Bat Research and learned about all of the exciting research involving bats! The conference is always held close to Halloween and this year was held in San Antonio, Texas. As it happens, the biggest bat colony in the world, which is also the biggest concentration of mammals known, is located near San Antonio and I was lucky enough to visit it! Bracken Cave is home to 15-20 million Mexican Free-tailed bats and their spectacular nightly emergence takes about 3 hours until all the bats have left. The cave is owned and protected by Bat Conservation International.
Also close to San Antonio is an artificially made cave that is home to half a million Mexican Free-tailed bats. It’s construction and success are an amazing story. While I was attending the conference I was also lucky enough to make a side trip to Austin to view the famous Congress Avenue Bridge. It houses the world’s largest urban bat colony and is quite a tourist attraction. Around 1.5 million Mexican Free-tailed bats roost there during the summer. It was a very memorable experience watching the bats emerge for the night and I would definitely recommend it if you ever find yourself in the area.