A bat cave in Phoenix? You better believe it.
Along the Phoenix Canal sits an urban bat cave that houses thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats every summer. The cave is a two-minute walk West along the canal from 40th Street and Camelback Road.
“It’s seemingly just an average canal,” said Marshall Shore, Arizona’s Hip-storian. Take a slight right turn off the path and you’ll see an enormous storm drain. “You have 10-15,000 bats right beneath us.”
The two-mile long irrigation drain was built decades ago to help with flood control but is now a breeding spot for the bats.
You know you’re in the right spot when you see two city signs reading, “Bat Watching Area” and the overwhelming smell of guano.
“It’s just perfect in terms of temperature. It’s an ideal location for the bats to live in and raise their young,” said Angie McIntire, bat management coordinator at the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
Every night at dusk, those thousands of bats take flight, streaming out of the tunnel and drawing a crowd.
“Absolutely loved it. We’ve come a long way and when we heard there was an opportunity to see the bats we came running,” said Tammy Jacobi.
For about ten minutes, the Mexican free-tailed bats fly out of the drain and into the night. Hunting for food before returning for another snooze. The bats will be back in the morning and they’ll be doing the same thing tomorrow night and all through the summer basically until October when they’ll migrate south of the border.