Bats Of Bracken Cave

August 08, 2002

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Provided by: Becky Ramotowski
Summary authors & editors: Becky Ramotowski

An invasion? No. It's just the start of the evening emergence of about 40 million Mexican free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis) leaving on their nightly hunt for insects. The photo above was take at Bracken Cave, located near San Antonio, Texas. It's home to perhaps the largest colony of bats in the world. These bats are speedsters, and have been clocked flying at speeds of over 60 MPH! They spend their nights eating moths and other agricultural pests, flying hundreds of miles each night in their quest. Mexican free-tailed bats are summer visitors to Texas - they spend their winters in Mexico. Bracken Cave lies at the bottom of a huge sinkhole, formed when the roof of the cave collapsed inward. Large, cool and dark cavities like Bracken Cave are popular resting areas for many species of bats.

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