On June 15 we had a huge influx of female bats visiting the cave to bear their young. Our 1.6 million mothers-to-be already made your mouth drop when they began their nightly bug hunt from the cave. When another 4-6 million joined this colony it made it something of a memory-making spectacle!
The mother bats at the Eckert James River Bat Cave have all given birth to their pups at this date. With each mother giving birth to a single “pup”, it doubles the number of bats in the cave. The pups will begin flying around the middle of July. The critters anticipate this flight and the predators are usually numerous at that time. Olivia, our resident great horned owl, is back again this season. We have not spotted her brother, Otis, as of yet, but we anticipate his return soon. Miss Hiss and Baby Hiss have also made a showing. These white racers thrill the audience with their antics at bat catching. Penelope Opossum also frequents the cave for a tasty bat dinner but doesn’t hang around too long. Geraldine, the cutest little skunk in these parts, is still as nosey as ever. She doesn’t mind the crowds. All that she has on her mind is to get a quick bite or two or six….
We have had several hawks and falcons participating in the feast as well. Some come very up close and personal to snag a tasty bat. Although it is heart wrenching to realize that two bats die with each one taken as a meal, it is a part of what makes this a lesson in reality to the viewer. These tiny creatures face great odds at trying to survive and do so with tremendous tenacity.
The circle of life is seen nightly at the greatest little 8 acres on this planet. Come on out and see why people from all over the world visit the town of Mason. You don’t have to be a world traveler to enjoy this nightly showing. You will think you have stumbled across a paradise when you begin your drive out and end in the seats in front of the cave. Don’t put it off. Make plans to come soon, but remember that we will be closed June 26, 27, 28 and 29th. Peak viewing is in July, so mark your calendar.
I, along with The Nature Conservancy, extend an open invitation to you to take part in this event. Admission to the Preserve is $5 for persons six years of age and older. If you need more information, please call the bat hotline at 325-347-5970 for a detailed message. If you would care to speak to me, leave your name and number and I will return your call. Also, please remember that NO PETS, ALCOHOL, OR SMOKING are allowed anywhere on the Preserve….including the parking area. See ya at the cave!