There’s a proud tradition in the Phoenix area during the summer months, where people flock to Paradise Valley to witness an awe-inspiring natural event: numerous bats flying out of the so-called “Phoenix Bat Cave.” Whenever the sun begins to dip below the horizon, a mass of these creatures flee the cave to cross the Arizona night sky. But here are a few things you may not know about the Phoenix Bat Cave already, including one shocking truth that only those who visit learn for themselves
A Big Family
Every summer, over 5,000 of these bats call the Phoenix Bat Cave their home. In the last hours of daylight, you might begin to see them stir and exit, but with a family that’s in the thousands, it’s overwhelming when you see the mass majority of them take off all together!
The bats of the Phoenix Bat Cave are known as Mexican free-tailed bats, and with how close we are to the border, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that they do, in fact, only spend part of their time in the States. While they spend winter in Mexico, they come up here in the summer to the Phoenix Bat Cave to raise their young in the slightly less unforgiving heat we experience!
What’s That Smell?
Mexican free-tailed bats are known to have a distinct aroma, coming from the same substance that gives beer and taco shells their smells. When they begin to stir inside the Phoenix Bat Cave, you might smell them even before you hear them! Keep your eyes, ears, and nose open, and you won’t miss a thing!
It’s NOT A Cave!
Surprise, surprise! The strangest fact about the Phoenix Bat Cave is that it’s not really a cave. In fact, it’s a flood control tunnel in Paradise Valley that’s managed by the Flood Control District of Maricopa County. As a result, this department and the Arizona Game and Fish Department has dedicated much time and effort to protect and honor the bat population that comes each year to the Phoenix Bat Cave, even getting involved in many efforts to educate citizens about the positive effect bats have on our environment!