Where to See Bats
 

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BATS TODAY: current situation and conflicts

 

Bats are facing an epidemic of white nose syndrome. First discovered in Albany, NY, in 2006, the mysterious disease is creeping across the country, wiping out the bulk of many bat populations. So, many caves have closed to visitors--in case it's the visitors who are spreading or exacerbating the illness.

 

Bats have suffered big population losses in the last few decades, mainly because they've lost habitat. They still suffer from archaic biases.

 

The U.S. has 47 species of bat, 6 of which are on federally listed as endangered species. American bats are relatively small (only a couple ounces) especially compared to the flying foxes found around the Pacific.

 

The good news for bats is that people are finally waking up to their charms and insect-killing abilities, thanks largely to groups like Bat Conservation International. Instead of trying to rid their property of bats, people build bat houses. Some, but not all, bats hibernate and need a deep, warm, undisturbed cave. They've squatted in old mine shafts and train tunnels. Now instead of sealing the tunnels off, conservationists are installing bars to keep out meddling kids, but let the bats rest.

BAT VIEWING TIPS

The best time to see bats is when they are flying out a little before dusk. While it is a myth that bats rampantly spread rabies, you still don't want to touch them. They're not going to aim for your hair, but if you're going to a big fly out, wear a hood or hat. Don't disturb sleeping or hibernating bats. Studies have shown that hibernating bats lose weight when their caves are disturbed.

 

ANIMALTOURISM.COM TOP 10 batBAT U.S. VIEWING SITES
Rank
Region
State
Place
Reason
1
south
Texas
Bracken Bat Cave
20-40 million bats
2
south Texas
Congress Av. Bridge, Austin
Austin, 1.5 million bats
3
south
Texas
Waugh Ave. Bat Colony
Houston, 250,000 bats
4
south where to see animals in Florida
Lubee Bat Conservatory
Giant fruit bats
5
midwest
Bat Zone
Worldwide species
6
south
where to see animals in Florida
Gainsville Bat House

World's Largest Bat House

100,000 bats

7
south
Texas
Frio Bat Cave
10 million bats
8
south
Texas
Devils Sinkhole
10 million bats
9
Carlsbad Caverns
400,000 bats
10
Hibernia Hibernaculum
Converted mine between NYC and Philly

BEST PLACES TO SEE BATS

Click on the region to see its wildlife-watching spots
U.S. Midwest Northeast Plains Down South Out West  
States Alaska CA Hawaii FL TX  
International Canada Latin America Europe Africa Asia Australia

 

midwest Midwest - See other animals in the Midwest

bat

Volo Bog Bat Barn - IL

An old barn at Volo Bog Natural Area is the largest nursery colony of little brown bats in Illinois. About 2,000 fly out at dusk. Summer programs.
28478 West Brandenburg, Ingleside, IL (815)344-1294

bat

Spring Mill State Park - IN

Spring Mill State Park houses little brown bats, big brown bats, eastern pipistrelles and other types of bats in its caves.

3333 State Rd. 60 East Mitchell, IN ( 812) 849-4129

bat

Spring Mill State Park - IN

Spring Mill State Park houses little brown bats, big brown bats, eastern pipistrelles and other types of bats in its caves.

3333 State Rd. 60 East Mitchell, IN ( 812) 849-4129

bat
Wyandotte Caves Bat Hibernacula - In
The Wyandotte Caves house 32,000 Indiana Bats, more than 10% of the American population.
7315 S Wyandotte Cave Rd., Leavenworth, IN (812) 738-2782

bat

Bat Zone - Mi
The Bat Zone takes care of 100 rescued and unreleasable bats from around the world, as well as a sloth, flying squirrel and other animals.
The Bat Zone is part of the Cranbrook Institute of Science
39221 Woodward Ave Bloomfield Hills, MI (248) 645-3232
bat

Tippy Dam Bats and Salmon Run - MI

The Tippy Dam on the Manistee River shelters 20,000 bats for winter migration. Salmon run here, too. Tippy Dam Road north of M-55. (231) 723-2211
bat

Millie Mine Bat Viewing Site - MI

Millie Mine Bat Viewing Site in Iron Mountain, MI is an abandoned vertical iron mine that now shelters 50,000 big brown and little brown bats. (906) 774-8530 Park Ave. off East A St Iron Mountain, MI

bat

Crystal Cave - WI

Crystal Cave has five bat species year-round, though there's more of them in winter.
W965  State Road 29   Spring Valley, WI (800) 236 - CAVE(2283)

northeast Northeast - See other animals in the Northeast

bat

Hibernia, NJ - Bat Hibernaculum
One of the biggest bat caves on the east coast, this old mine houses 25,000 little brown bats. You can watch them fly out from a viewing platform at dusk. New Jersey Skylands explains the history here.

bat

Canoe Creek State Park - Pa

Canoe Creek State Park houses 20,000 bats of six species in several sites, including an old church converted to a sanctuary and an old mine shaft that serves as a hibernaculum.
Off Route 22, Hollidaysburg, PA 814-695-6807

south Plains -- See other animals on the Plains

bat

Onondaga Cave State Park Bats- MO
Onondaga Cave State Park hosts bats you can see on cave tours.
Onondaga Cave State Park, 7556 Hwy. H, Leasburg, MO (573) 245-6576
bat
Onondaga Cave State Park - MO

Onondaga Cave State Park offers cavern tours where you can see several species of bat. The state of Missouri calls this "one of the finest show caves in the United States." Call ahead in case cave is closed.
573-245-6576, 573-245-6600 Cave Tours, 7556 Highway H, Leasburg, MO

ok

bat

Bat Watch at Alabaster Caverns State Park - OK
The Alabaster Caverns State Park hosts summer Bat Watch tours to see up to one million Mexican free-tailed bats fly out of the Selman bat cave. Reservations required, though there is some viewing in the rest of the park.
Hwy 50 & Hwy 50-A, Freedom, OK
(580) 621-3381 BAT WATCH: (405) 424-0099
Texas - See other animals in Texas

bat

Bracken Bat Cave - TX

Bat Conservation International bought about 700 acres surrounding the Bracken Bat Cave. The largest concentration of bats in the world lives within a half hour of San Antonio. During the summer they hold special weekly trips for dusk fly-outs just for members. July and August are the peak months. You may see the cloud-like swarm from nearby Natural Bridge Caverns. (512) 327-9721

bat
Congress Avenue Bridge - Austin, TX
Austin's Congress Avenue Bridge was inadvertently built as an ideal nursery for Mexican free-tailed bats. By August 1.5 million mother and pups fly out every dusk.
The Austin-American Statesman created a viewing area off their parking lot.
bat
Frio Bat Cave - West of San Antonio, TX
The Frio Bat Cave houses 10 million Mexican free-tailed bats and up to 10,000 Cave myotis. Hill Country Adventures offers summer tours on this private land.
Hill Country Adventures (830) 966-2320
Tours meet at the gate on FM 2680 just south of the Frio River.
bat
Bat World Sanctuary- Mineral Wells, TX
Bat World Sanctuary, headquartered in Mineral Wells, Texas, rescues and releases bats around the country. In town is a wild sanctuary, an abandoned store used every spring by a breeding colony of Mexican free-tailed bats.  Bat World Sanctuary 217 N Oak Ave
Mineral Wells, TX (940) 325-3404
bat

Devil's Sinkhole Bat Tour - TX

The Devil's Sinkhole Natural Area centers on a round hole 50 or so feet wide that sinks down more than 300 feet and houses 3 million Mexican free-tailed bat in the summer. The only access is through tours by rangers and the Devil's Sinkhole Society.
Tours start at the  Rocksprings, TX, Visitor's Center on  Courthouse Sq. at Sweeten and Main.
bat

Old Tunnel WMA Bats - Texas, west of Austin

The Old Tunnel Wildlife Management Area houses an old railroad tunnel. Three million Mexican free-tailed bats have moved in since the railroad stopped running in 1942.
The best viewing is in summer an hour before dusk at the south end of the tunnel.
The WMA is on Old No. 9 Hwy/Old San Antonio Road 8 miles north of FM 473.
(866) 978-2287
bat

Caprock Canyons Clarity Tunnel - TX

The Caprock Canyons State Park and Trailway has an abandoned railroad tunnel that houses hundreds of thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats. The Clarity Tunnel is on Mile Marker 289 of the Trailway. PDF Trailway Map here.
Park office is three miles north of Quitaque on F.M. 1065.806-455-1492
bat
Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve - TX
Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve is one of the largest bat homes in the country. Four million Mexican free-tailed bats live here May-Sept. Tours daily. James River Road off FM 2389. (325) 347-5970
bat

Waugh Drive Bat Colony - Houston

From March-September a quarter million Mexican free-tailed bats fly out from the Waugh Avenue Bridge in Buffalo Bayou Park at dusk.
Houston, TX (713) 752-0314
south South - See other aninals Down South

bat

Sauta Cave Bat Cave - AL

Sauta Cave National Wildlife Refuge claims "the largest emergence of bats east of the Mississippi River." A quarter million on summer nights. And it's endangered gray bats. Viewing platform off Rt. 72,  2700 Refuge Headquarters Rd. Decatur, AL 256-353-7243
bat

Bat-O-Rama at Devils Den State Park - AR

Each June Devils Den State Park holds Bat-O-Rama, a weekend long festival 11333 W Highway 74, West Fork, AR (479) 761-3325

bat

Nickajack Cave Bat Platform - TN

Near the Nickajack Reservoir on the Tennessee River lies the Nickajack Cave, home to 60,000 gray bats. Use the TVA boat launch off Tenn. Hwy. 156.
Florida - See other animals in Florida

 

 

 

Lubee Bat ConservatorY - FL

The Lubee Bat Conservatory is working to save fruit and nectar bats. On an annual open house or school trips, the public can see the (huge) Malayan Flying Fox to the tiny Egyptian fruit bat.
1309 NW 192nd Ave., Gainesville, FL (352) 485-1250

bat

World's Largest Bat House - Gainesville, FL

The University of Florida at Gainesville houses the world's largest bat house on Museum Road across from Lake Alice. Some 100,000 Brazilian free-tailed and Southeastern bats live  at the house which was built in 1991 to lure bats from their problematic home at the track stadium.
out west The West - See other animals out West

bat

Ajo Way Bat Culvert- Tuscon, AZ

The culvert under the intersection of Ajo Way and Park Avenue houses thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats. Except for in winter, they fly out just before dusk.
bat

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum - Tucson, AZ

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum allows visitors to see bats, roadrunners, barn owls, hawks and . There's also a chance you might see ringtails, coati, ground squirrels, bighorn sheep and javelina.

2021 N. Kinney Rd., Tucson, Arizona Directions, Hours & Rates (520) 883-2702

bat

Ajo Way Culvert - Tucson, AZ

The culvert under the intersection of Ajo Way and Park Avenue houses thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats. Except for in winter, they fly out just before dusk.

CO

bat

Orient Mine - CO

The Orient Mine, near Colorado Springs, houses 100,000 - 250,000 Mexican free-tailed bats in the summer. The trail to theGlory Hole takes about an hour. The mine was abandoned in 1938 and is now taken care of by the Mine Trust. Stop by the visitor center; they often have guided tours. Arrive 45 minutes before dusk and stand on the north side of the hole. 64393 County Road GG, Villa Grove, CO  (719) 256-4315

mt

bat

Lewis and Clark Cavern Bats - MT
Lewis and Clark Cavern State Park has housed Townsend's big-eared bats for more than a century. Guided tours and rental cabins.
MT-2, Uninc Jefferson County, MT (406) 287-3541

nm

bat

Carlsbad Caverns Bat Cave - NM
Carlsbad Caverns National Park has housed hundreds of thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats for 5,000 years. About 400,000 fly out at dusk in the summer. No photos allowed. The fly-out lasts hours. 3225 National Parks Hwy., Carlsbad, NM (505) 785-3012
bat
El Malpais Lava-Tube Bat Cave - NM
El Malpais National Monument hosts a nightly fly-out of bats from a lava-tube cave.
123 East Roosevelt Ave., Grants, NM (505) 783-4774
CA California -- See other animals in California

 

bat

San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary - S of Los Angles

The Sea & Sage Audubon Society leads bat walks in the summer at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary.
Hawaii Hawaii --- See other animals in Hawaii
Canada Canada -- See other animals in Canada
Latin America Latin America -- See other animals in Latin America
Europe Europe - See other animals in Europe
bat

London Bats

The conservation group London Bats does regular bat walks and provides a handy list of places to look for bats in London. They note that bats can even be seen in Hyde Park. London has several bat species, but the most common are the pipistrelle, noctule, and Daubenton's bat.

They tour the London Wetland Centre, Chiswick Park, and Kelsey Park.

bat

Berlin Bats

Bats have been hanging out near the Spandau Citadel in Berlin for centuries.

049 30 3675 00 61 13599 Berlin, Germany

bat

Octalis World of Bats

Octalis World of Bats hopes to instill sympathy and understanding for bats by letting people see them up close in a 4-story facility and limestone bat cave.
Closed in winter for hibernation.
Oberbergstraße 27, 23795 Bad Segeberg, Germany

Africa Africa
bat

Ghana

About 20,000 rosetta fruit bats live in the Buoyem Sacred Groves and Bat Caves. The site has been protected in some form since the 14th century (because high-ranking residents wanted to eat the flying foxes.)

Asia Asia
Oz Australia

 

How is this animal doing?
Viewing Tips
Best Locations List
friends
American Cave Conservation
Bat Conservation International
Bat Conservation Trust (UK)
Bat World Regional Sanctuaries
Defenders of Wildlife Bat Page
London Bats
Lubee Bat Conservancy
Organization for Bat Conservation
World of Bats (Germany)
bat reading and resources
 
Why are thousands of bats dying in New York?
U of FL bat giant house
Don't disturb the bats
Philly Bat Cave a closely guarded secret
Achieving Bat Conservation through Tourism
A World of Underground Wonders in Missouri

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