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Austin Texas and Bats!

austin texas and bats

Did you say BATS?!

Yep, you heard me right! Austin, Texas is home to the largest urban bat colony in the world, with an estimated 1.5 million bats living under our most famous roosting location, the Congress Avenue Bridge.  Let's clear up a few things you're probably wondering:

First, why the heck are they here? The bats are Mexican free-tailed bats that migrate to Austin from Mexico in early Spring and Summer to give birth and raise their pups. 

OK, but why the Congress Bridge? The bridge's 1980 renovation created these deep crevices between the beams that ended up becoming an ideal bat habitat, providing protection from predators and an incubator-like setting for female bats to raise their young. 

We aren't talking bloodsucking Dracula bats... are we? Thankfully no. Mexican free-tailed bats are gentle animals that rarely bite, except in self-defense if handled. The bats primarily feed on insects, including mosquitoes (which we can all agree is a public service).

In true Keep-Austin-Weird-Fashion, our Mexican free-tailed friends emerge and blanket the sky, creating a spectacular and unique tourist attraction. The bats emerge from the bridge every night during Spring and Summer, normally within 30 minutes before sundown on hot, dry evenings, and up to 40 minutes after in cooler, damp weather. The best times to see the bats' nightly flights are on hot, dry evenings. I recommend checking Austin Bat Refuge's Website for flight time predictions as well as previous flight times! 

Some common viewpoints include The Congress Avenue Bridge, The Statesman Bat Observation Center and The Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail. My personal favorite way to enjoy the bat emergence is with a stay at The Line Hotel - just be sure to ask for a south-facing room that overlooks Lady Bird Lake! You'll get a panoramic type view of the lake and be able to watch the bats take flight from your bed, with room service and a bottle of bubbles. Need I say more?

austin, texas and bats

An Austinite Fave, Austin Bat Tours, offers evening kayak and glow paddleboard tours. You can paddle the length of downtown during the day and then catch the sunset over the water. The bats are the main event, followed by a downtown paddle at night. Last, but definitely not least, Capital Cruises offers a great vantage point with nightly sunset cruises. You can customize a private excursion with dinner, cocktails, and more. I don't know about you, but I'm so sold!




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