Bats in Austin
Texans are used to doing things bigger and better. And this attitude includes the part-time Texans—the bats. Texas boasts the largest bat population in North America.
Why do Bats live in Austin
According to Texas Parks and Wildlife (bat expects), Texas offers 32 of the 47 bat species in the U.S. And the Mexican free-tail bat is the most common.
After wintering in Mexico, the bats leave in February to birth and raise their young in large maternity colonies. Mammas look for sites with high humidity and higher temperatures. Each mother births one bat. Since bats are mammals, they nurse their young and bat pups are ready for flight in 4 to 5 weeks after birth.
By August, most colonies nearly double in size with the pups joining in the nightly bat emergence. So the late summer bat emergences are the most spectacular.
Where to See Bats around Austin
Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge
Back in 1980, the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge underwent a reconstruction and soon after the bat population saw a notable rise.
Stand on the bridge and the bats depart east over Lady Bird Lake. Or head to the Statesman Bat Observation Center at 305 S. Congress and watch from the banks. Free
Interstate 35 Overpass At McNeil Road
Here’s a locals spot north of central Austin. The bats exit to the east and the auto parts parking lot is a good place to watch. Free
Old Tunnel State Park
Not only are bats found in caves and under bridges, bats roost in an abandoned train tunnel from a hundred years ago. Find three million Mexican free-tail bats in this colony.
Located at 10619 Old San Antonio Rd., southeast of Fredericksburg. Call 866 978-2287 for the latest bat emergence time. Free
Camden Street Bridge
Male bats aren’t involved in pup rearing. So see a colony of 50,000 males bats under a San Antonio River bridge along the museum reach of the San Antonio River Walk.
Located north of Interstate 35 in downtown San Antonio on Camden Street. Free
Devil’s Sinkhole State Natural Area
Find 3 million Mexican free-tail bats in one of the largest single chamber caverns in Texas.
Located at 101 N. Sweeten St. in Rocksprings. Admission and tours require admission.
Stuart Bat Cave in Kickapoo State Park
Stuart Bat Cave is home to one million Mexican free-tailed bats.The cave is closed to protect the bats but watch on close by.
Located at 20930 RM 674 in Brackettville, 146 miles west of San Antonio. Park admission.