“My name is Ms. Batty. I am one of over 1,200 species of bats in the world. I am called the Mexican free-tail bat. I live in a cave in central Mexico with many other male and female Mexican free-tail bats. My summer home is in Texas. There, I live in a special place called The Eckert James River Bat Cave. I go there with about a million and a half other Mexican free-tail bats from all over Mexico. We go to Texas to have our babies. The daddies will stay in Mexico and take care of things until our return home in October or early November. Our journey is hundreds of miles but we ride the warm air stream that pushes in right ahead of our departure and is blowing north. I can fly about 15-30 miles per hour, but with the air stream pushing us, I can reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. We hang out and rest along the way in caves or under bridges that other bats before us have “marked” with a special scent that we can detect with our sensitive noses. This makes our journey much easier.
We finally arrive at The Eckert James River Bat Cave and find the bat cave steward hard at work weed eating the trails and parking lot. There is much work to do to prepare for the guests that will soon be arriving to see us as we emerge from the cave mouth. We enjoy listening to Vicki, the bat cave steward, as she gives an educational presentation to the visitors that come each Thursday-Sunday night during the season. She works for a great non-profit organization called The Nature Conservancy. This organization strives to protect plants, animals and other resources all over the world. This helps to ensure that generations from now people will be able to enjoy the same things in the great outdoors that we do right now. That enjoyment includes us!!
The Eckert James River Bat Cave Preserve opens each year around May 15TH since that is about the time that we get there. The season runs until about the first or second week in October or when the first significant cold front blows in.
Next week I will tell you more about our giving birth, so be sure to check out this column. By the way, Vicki asked me to let you know that you can come and watch us return for the morning after we have worked really hard during the night catching tons of delicious bugs. You can call her if you’d like to join the early morning return by dialing 325-347-5970. Leave a message and she will call you for your reservation. Early morning return is June 16TH.
Emergence time for last week was around 8:37 P.M. No reservations are needed for the evening emergence on Thursday-Sunday night. Please be at the Preserve parking lot no later than 7:30 P.M. to keep from disturbing us as we emerge. It is about a 1,500 foot hike up a trail from the parking lot and it is about a 35 minute drive from downtown Mason. Admission is $5.00 for persons six years of age and older. And as Vicki has always says, “See ya at the cave!!””