2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on

Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – June 2007

How to See More Bats

Whether you fear, respect, or applaud these complex creatures of the night, the tips below will help you find and observe them.

PAGE 1 2

As the sun goes down over Stuart Bat Cave in southern Texas, half a million Mexican free-tailed bats spiral into the sky. For a few minutes, the pulsing, chirping cloud blots out the summer twilight in a display that's either terrifying or inspiring. As a backpacker, you should be cheering. That's because a single bat eats 1,000 insects a night. The colony leaving Stuart Bat Cave will consume 5 tons–the weight of a small bus–before dawn.

Bats comprise a diverse mammalian group found on every continent except Antarctica. They are the only mammals capable of flight, and despite their rodentlike appearance, they are more closely related to primates such as chimpanzees. Three-quarters of bat species eat insects like moths and beetles, while a few others feed on fruit, nectar, or small lizards. Only three Central and South American species drink blood from sleeping animals.

To the Bat Cave
Devil's Den State Park, AR

The sandstone crevice caves dotting the Ozark highlands are home to big brown and red bats. In summer, hit the 1.5-mile Devil's Den loop trail around dusk, so you reach the 550-foot-deep bat cave when the creatures emerge. And don't miss Bat-O-Rama XVIII (June 8–10), with hikes and demos planned. (479) 761-3325;

Kickapoo Cavern State Park, TX
Every night from mid-April to mid-September, more than half a million bats fly out of the Stuart Bat Cave in this undeveloped state park 130 miles west of San Antonio. Sign up for a biweekly guided hike to the cave entrance ($5), or explore the nearby hillsides on the park's 14-mile trail network. (830) 563-2342;

Pinnacles Nat. Monument, Ca
Located 60 miles southeast of San Jose, this Salinas Valley maze of canyons and spires is home to a nursery colony of Townsend's big-eared bats. From the visitor center, hike the Bear Gulch Cave Trail through a network of talus caves, which formed when house-sized boulders fell into narrow canyons. (831) 389-4485;

PAGE 1 2

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Address 1:
Address 2:
Email (req):
Reader Rating: -


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Trailhead Register
Darn, very tragic news:
Posted On: Aug 23, 2014
Submitted By: double cabin
Trailhead Register
Your Yosemite Tips
Posted On: Aug 23, 2014
Submitted By: double cabin

View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions