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3 Largest Bat Colonies to Catch in Texas

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Tony Maples Photography


The flight of the bat colonies located around Texas is a majestic sight to see. Their emergence into the night sky from underground is truly a breathtaking view to take in. Crowds gather nightly throughout the year in some areas to gaze upon such an impressive display of the beauty among these creatures in nature.

According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD), Texas is home to 32 of the 47 types of bats found in the United States. The largest known bat colony in the world is located at Bracken Cave Preserve and the largest urban bat colony can be found at the Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin. The most common bat you will find in Texas is the Mexican free-tailed bat (also known as Brazilian free-tailed bats).

Over the summer months, many will gather to set their sights on these and other bats colonies around the world. Below is information on these largest bats colonies and a well-kept secret among a bridge in Houston TX.

1. The Bracken Bat Flight


Photo: Facebook/naturalbridgecavernstx

Everything is bigger in Texas. So it makes sense we would hold the distinct pride of having the largest known bat colony in the world.

Located a few miles from another natural wonder, the Natural Bridge Caverns, the Bracken Bat Flight is the sight of millions of free-tailed bats taking their flight. Their spectacular venture into the night sky in their hunt for insects is an amazing reminder of how beautiful our surrounding nature really is.

Each emergence of the bats and viewing varies, and there are set rules in place to make the experience as wonderful as possible. The bats are sensitive to noise, so visitors are asked to remain quiet as much as possible.

For more information on viewing dates and what you need to know before coming visit:

2. Austin Bat Colony



The largest urban bat colony can be found right here in Austin. Approximately 1.5 million bats take flight nightly from underneath the Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge.

These creatures of the night are an awe-inspiring event to gaze upon as they fly out into the night sky in search of insects. From March until October is when you are likely to catch their flight. According to the TPWD, the bats begin migrating to Texas in early February. “In June, mother bats give birth to one pup each. Male bats do not help in raising the young and form smaller ‘bachelor’ colonies.”

By August, the pups are ready for flight so the enormous cloud of bats you see emerge is even more amazing as the colony has doubled its size by then. A redesign of the bridge in 1980 created areas under the bridge making it the perfect place for these species of Mexican free-tailed bats to call home.

For more information about this bat colony visit:

3. Waugh Drive Bat Colony



A best-kept secret among bat colonies to be viewed is in Houston. The Mexican free-tailed bats emerge nightly from underneath the Waugh Drive Bridge near Buffalo Bayou.

It is estimated 250,000 of these bats call the bridge home. The Waugh Bridge Bat Colony unlike others that migrate to the south for the winter remain here year round according to the City of Houston’s website. They may be the largest colony residing in Texas year round. The best viewing times occur on warm evenings any time of the year. They fly along the bayou before scattering into the night in their hunt for insects.

For more on this magnificent flight visit: