It is baseball season, but there will be plenty of other types of bats around Oklahoma this summer.
More than a million Mexican free-tailed bats will be coming out nightly and flapping around to have a buffet of insects. This annual event is known as the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Selman Bat Watch, where visitors can watch the feeding frenzy four consecutive weekends beginning July 11.
“The Mexican free-tailed bats at the Selman Bat Cave congregate to give birth. Thus, this is a maternity cave,” said Dwayne Elmore, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension wildlife specialist. “Visitors can expect to see more than 1 million bats exit the cave at dusk.”
Each night's viewing activities are limited to 75 visitors who are randomly drawn from a pool of mailed-in registration forms, which will be available online at wildlifedepartment.com beginning May 27. Hopeful viewers must print, complete and mail their registration form to the Wildlife Department at Bat Watch Program, P.O. Box 53465 Oklahoma City, OK 73152 between May 27 and June 6.
Only mailed registration forms postmarked by June 6 will be accepted, and instructions for completing the form should be read carefully to ensurecorrectly completed registration. Successful registrants will receive an email confirmation and a packet in the mail. The cost is $12 for admission ($6 for children 8 - 12 years old).
The Wildlife Department has owned the area around the cave for more than 15 years and does its part to protect this site, which is one of only five major areas in the state used by female bats to raise their young. There is not much to see during the day, but the amazing show begins at sunset.
“There will be great living waves rising high into the night sky like a school of fish,” Elmore said. “It’s an impressive sight.”
More information and details about the Selman Bat Watch can be found online at wildlifedepartment.com.