Free-tailed Flights of Fancy

Free-tailed Flights of Fancy

Experience a fabulous flight of Mexican free-tailed bats during Bat Loco: Tuesday, Aug. 7, from 6-9 p.m. near the Camden Street Bridge.

The home of the largest colony of bats in the world is located just 20 miles north of San Antonio — in Bracken Cave. The wee little bats that live there save South Central Texas cotton farmers about $750,000 a year on pest control!

Bracken Cave is especially important because it’s a maternity colony. Every spring, about 10 million Mexican free-tailed bats migrate from various caves across Mexico to San Antonio.

Every night, the bats emerge and fly over 60 miles in one night to catch bugs. In mid-June, the mother bats have their babies. The babies then start flying around mid to late July, bringing the emergence count to almost 20 million bats. It takes up to four hours for all of the bats to exit the cave and fly off into the night.

You can experience a similar emergence during Bat Loco Tuesday, Aug. 7, from 6-9 p.m. near the Camden Street Bridge on the Museum Reach segment of the San Antonio River Walk.

This free family friendly event features food, games and lots of batty activities — and, of course, the famous free-tailed flight!

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Bat facts

Bats often get a bum rap, and they face a number of threats across the United States. Here are some ways you can help bats.

Donate to Bat Conservation International and become a member. This will give you and three guests an invitation to visit Bracken Cave and watch the world’s largest bat flight!

Build a bat-friendly garden in your backyard. Use our Watersaver Landscape Coupons to get started. Check out this article on our favorite bat plants!

Build a bat house, or you can buy a ready-made one.

Learn more about the other threats bats face, and educate your friends about why bats are amazing and need our help.

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Sarah Gorton

About our expert

Sarah Gorton

Sarah Gorton is an intern with SAWS Conservation department. She is passionate about bats, having worked in wildlife rehabilitation, volunteering at Bracken Bat Cave and researching bats with acoustic monitors. Sarah has the greenest porch at her apartment complex and is slowly expanding her potted native plant jungle to the nearby sidewalks. Sarah is on a mission to enhance her native plant knowledge through Master Naturalist and Texas Native Plant Society certification courses. She can often be found hiking with her small dogs in large national parks to increase her collection of Junior Park Ranger badges.