Deep in the heart of Texas, deep inside a cave, millions and millions of Mexican free-tailed bats roost together. One square foot of the cave’s ceiling can contain more than 500 of them. When it comes to bat colonies, it turns out everything really IS bigger in Texas.
Bracken Cave Preserve, located just outside San Antonio, is home to the largest colony of bats in the world. “We have somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 million Mexican free-tailed bats,” said Fran Hutchins, director of Bat Conservation International.
Bats can be found all throughout the Lone Star State – the ones that roost under the South Congress Bridge in Austin have even become a tourist attraction.
But there’s nothing quite like Bracken. When a vortex-full of bats emerges from the cave to feed each evening, the resulting “batnado” is so massive it shows up on doppler radar. They’re headed out to surrounding fields to spend the night feasting on insects that feast on crops like corn and cotton. Bats are a natural form of pest control.
Nature: Bats 02:10