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What you need to know about this unique place in Arizona

What you need to know about this unique place in Arizona

What you need to know about this unique place in Arizona

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If you see a menacing cloud of bats filling the night sky this summer, don’t panic. This mass migration isn’t a bad omen, but rather a glimpse into some of Arizona’s most interesting creatures.

The National Weather Service reported a large appearance of bats at the Phoenix Bat Cave around 9 p.m. Sunday, drawing more attention to the numerous bats in the Phoenix metropolitan area and Arizona.

Bats are an important part of Arizona’s ecosystem and are much more common than you might think.

Here you will find everything about the Phoenix Bat Cave and the creatures that reside there.

What is the Phoenix Bat Cave?

Angie McIntire, a bat biologist with the Arizona Department of Game and Fish, told The Arizona Republic in an interview that there could be 10,000 to 20,000 bats living in this unsuspecting storm drain.

But this tunnel is actually the ideal home for many species of Arizona bats. The insect-eating bats, whose diet is largely based on insects, prefer to stay near long water sources that allow them to skim the water to easily catch prey, according to the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Since the bats spend their free time hanging upside down, the rough concrete ceilings of the flood control tunnel make the perfect surface to hang from.

Where is the Phoenix Bat Cave?

Phoenix Bat Cave is located north of 40th Street and Camelback Road. You can walk to the top of the tunnel along the Arizona Canal. Take the path on the north side of the canal for about 200 yards, past the office buildings and parking lot, to reach the perfect spot for bat watching.

If you need to find parking, you can find the Bat Cave parking lot on Google Maps.

What is the best time to see bats in Phoenix?

Every year, from May to October, thousands of bats migrate to Mexico. They begin their journey south just before dusk, or at 8 p.m. in the summer months, and continue into the evening.

What is the most common bat in Phoenix?

Of the 28 different species of bats found in Arizona, Mexican free-tailed bats are the most common. The United States has a Mexican free-tailed bat population of more than 100 million, according to the National Park Service.

According to another interview with The Republic by McIntire, Mexican free-tailed bats have been found congregating in large numbers under several bridges in the Phoenix area. McIntire said the Gilbert Road bridge, where Gilbert Road crosses the Salt River, has about 30,000 on its structure.

Mexican free-tailed bats can be identified by their reddish to dark brown or gray fur, forward-pointing ears and wrinkled lips. These bats have narrow wings that typically measure between 12 and 14 inches, allowing them to fly at speeds of 60 miles per hour, according to the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.