Bat Caves

Bat caves such as Bracken Cave (close to San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A.), provide the world with some of the best bat shows on earth! In fact, during the summer time, Bracken Cave is home to a staggering 20 million plus Mexican free-tailed bats.

This site is protected and looked after by Bat Conservation International but unfortunately, not all cave roosts are that lucky.

And the fact that they're often home to large bat populations means that any disturbance of these sites or changes in how the land is used, can have serious consequences for them.

cave myotis bats

Collection of bat poop or guano, tourism and cave exploration (potholing/spelunking) are just some of the ways cave roosts can be disturbed.

All of these activities affect the Bumblebee bat ,which roosts in limestone caves in Thailand and Myanmar. This species is classified as vunerable in the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list.

The bat species that roost in caves tend to be the ones that can use echolocation. This amazing ability enables them to use ultrasound to find their way round in the dark.

So what makes these dark, cool, mysterious places so attractive to bats? It's those very same qualities. Well maybe not the mystery but definitely the lack of light and cool temperatures make them perfect places for daytime roosts or winter hibernacula.

Another major attraction is that they're off limits to most predators. They still try though and predators like snakes and owls may wait at cave entrances and try get hold of a bat as the roost emerges for a night's hunting.

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