The Mammals of Texas - Bats - Online Edition
Bat Montage
Mexican Free-Tailed Bat (Tadarida Brasiliensis)
(Listen to its Sound)

This is one of the best sites on Texas Bats. It has been set up by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department working with Texas Tech University.

Texas Bat Emergence Viewing Sites

Faces only mother Chiroptera chould love

Texas is home to some of the largest Mexican free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis) colonies in North America. Many of these sites have become popular tourist destinations as the bats emerge in awe-inspiring numbers each summer. Below is a list of all the different places you can see bat emergences in Texas.

Bracken Cave
  • Type: Maternity colony; 20 million Mexican free-tailed bats
  • Note: Not open to public; open only to BCI members by reservation
  • Ownership: Bat Conservation International
  • Contact: Andy Moore (512) 327-9721; www.batcon.org
Clarity Tunnel (Caprock Canyons State Park)
  • Type: Non-maternity colony; half million Mexican free-tailed bats.
  • Note: This site is located on the Caprock Canyons Trailway. Visitors can ride mountain bikes, hike or horseback to the Tunnel along the Trailway. This is about 10 miles round trip along the old railway.
  • Ownership: Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
  • Cost: $2 per person (park entry fee)
  • Reservations: Reservations are only necessary for special group tours
  • Hours of Operation: open year-round
  • Contact: Carolyn Rose (interpreter) (806) 455-1492, www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/caprock/
Congress Avenue Bridge
  • Type: Maternity colony; 1.5 million Mexican free-tailed bats
  • Ownership: City of Austin
  • Cost: Free
  • Reservations: Reservations not taken
  • Hours of Operation: Open year-round; BCI interpreters available to answer questions in the summer on Thursdays through Sundays.
  • Contact:
    Free viewing: Austin American-Statesman/Bat Conservation International Bat Hot Line (512) 416-5700 (category 3636)
    Viewing by tour boat: Capital Cruises (512) 480-9264 www.capitalcruises.com OR Lone Star Riverboats (512) 327-1388 www.lonestarriverboat.com
Devil's Sinkhole SNA
  • Type: Non-maternity colony; 3 million Mexican free-tailed bats
  • Ownership: Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
  • Cost: Adults are $10; Over 65 are $8; Kids 4 to 11 are $6; Kids under 4 are free
  • Reservations: Reservations must be made in advance
  • Hours of Operation: Visitor's Center open 7 days a week from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm; Bat-viewing tours and presentations given Wednesdays thru Sundays from April to October by reservation.
  • Contact: Devil's Sinkhole Society (830) 683-2287 (-BATS); www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/sinkhole and www.devilssinkhole.org/
Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve
  • Type: Maternity colony; 4 to 6 million Mexican free-tailed bats and 100,000 Cave myotis
  • Ownership: The Nature Conservancy of Texas
  • Cost: $5
  • Reservations: Reservations not accepted, except for special group tours
  • Hours of Operation: Thursdays thru Sundays from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; mid-May to early October
  • Contact: Information Line (325) 347-5970 http://www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/texas/preserves/art25179.html
Frio Bat Cave
  • Type: Maternity colony; 10 million Mexican free-tailed bats and 1,000 to 10,000 Cave myotis
  • Ownership: Private landowner
  • Cost: Adults are $10; Kids under 13 are $5; Kids under 5 are free
  • Reservations: Reservations must be made in advance
  • Hours of Operation: mid-March through September
  • Contact: Bain Walker, Hill Country Adventures (830) 966-2320, www.hillcountryadventures.com
Old Tunnel WMA
  • Type: Pseudomaternity colony: where pregnant females roost but do not give birth to young; 1 to 3 million Mexican free-tailed bats and 3,000 Cave myotis
  • Ownership: Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
  • Cost:
    Lower Viewing Area - Adults are $5; Seniors are $3; Kids 6 to 16 are $2; Kids 5 and under are free
    Upper Viewing Area - free
  • Reservations: Reservations not accepted, except for special group reservations
  • Hours of Operation: Upper viewing area open 7 nights a week; Lower Viewing Area open Thursdays thru Sundays from 1 hour before emergence to 10 pm
  • Contact: Old Tunnel Information Line 1-866-990-2287 (-BATS), www.tpwd.state.tx.us/wma/find_a_wma/list/?id=17
Stuart Bat Cave (Kickapoo Caverns State Park)
  • Type: Non-maternity colony; half million Mexican free-tailed bats
  • Ownership: Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
  • Cost: $5 per person
  • Reservations: Reservations must be made in advance
  • Hours of Operation: Various, call park for details
  • Contact: Mike Knezek (Manager) or Randy Rosales (Assistant Manager) (830) 563-2342, www.tpwd.state.tx.us/park/kickapoo
Waugh Drive Bridge- Houston
  • Type: Colony of at least half million Mexican free-tailed bats
  • Ownership: City of Houston
  • Cost: Free
  • Reservations: no reservations are necessary
  • Hours of Operation: Open year-round; Houston Bat Team interpreters available to answer questions on the third Friday of every month
  • Contact: Diana Foss, TPWD Urban Biologist- Houston 281-456-7029 or check the Buffalo Bayou Partnership website at www.buffalobayou.org
Bat Cartoon

Texas Bats Come Home to Roost (February, 1931)

Magazine Cover

This article from the February 1931 Modern Mechanics magazine outlines the activities of Dr. Charles A. R. Cambell of San Antonio, Texas.

In 1925 he wrote his book
Bats, Mosquitoes and Dollars discussing the importance of Texas bats.

1931 Article from Modern Mechanics

American Bat Bombs

Bat bombs were tiny incendiary bombs attached to bats that were developed by the United States during World War II with the hope of attacking mainland Japan. Four biological factors gave promise to this plan. First, bats occur in large numbers (four caves in Texas are each occupied by several million bats). Second, bats can carry more than their own weight in flight (females carry their young — sometimes twins). Third, bats hibernate, and while dormant they do not require food or complicated maintenance. Fourth, bats fly in darkness, and then find secretive places (such as flammable buildings) to hide during daylight.

Bat Bombs

The plan was to release bomb-laden bats at night over Japanese industrial targets. The flying bats would disperse widely, then at dawn they would hide in buildings and shortly thereafter built-in timers would ignite the bombs, causing widespread fires and chaos. Dental surgeon Lytle S. Adams, who submitted it to the White House in January 1942, conceived the bat bomb idea. The plan was subsequently approved by President Roosevelt. Adams was recruited to research and obtain a suitable supply of bats.

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