Bat Flight Program

Each evening in summer, nearly 400,000 Brazilian (aka Mexican) free-tail bats exit Carlsbad Cavern in search of a smorgasbord of insects.

Each evening in summer, Mexican Free-tailed bats exit Carlsbad Cavern in search of a smorgasbord of insects for dinner.

NPS Photo by Nick Hristov.

 

Notice: No electronic devices are permitted to be used during the bat flight program. Electronic devices include: cameras of any kind, laptop computers, cell phones, iPads, iPods, tablets, and MP3 players.

**Bat Flight Programs begin Friday, May 22, 2015 at dusk**. Prior to the evening bat flight, a program is given at the cavern entrance by a park ranger. The starting time of the talk varies with sunset times - it is best to call the park at 575.785.3012 to check for the estimated time. Programs may be canceled in the event of inclement weather. Bat Flight programs are scheduled from Memorial Day weekend through mid-to-late October. There is no charge for the bat flight program. In late October or early November, the bats migrate to Mexico for the winter; they return in April or May, depending on the weather.

Best Flights
The best bat flights normally occur in July and August. At this time baby bats, born in early summer, join the flight along with migrating bats from colonies further north.

Return Flights
The daily pre-dawn return of the bats is different from the evening exit flights but are just as impressive. Early risers (approx. 4 - 6 a.m.) can see the bats as they re-enter Carlsbad Cavern with spectacular dives from heights of hundreds of feet. Individual bats diving in from every direction may reach speeds of 25 mph (40 km/h) or more.

Help Us Protect the Bats
All electronic devices, including cameras, cell phones, iPads, iPods, tablets, MP3 players or laptop computers are prohibited during the Bat Flight Program. You are required to power off all electronic devices when the ranger program begins. Observations made by bat researchers have shown that bats who are used to total darkness and silence are disturbed by sounds and light, which can cause changes in their behavior.

Besides the risks to the bats, it is very difficult to get good quality photos of a bat flight under any circumstances, and the risks simply aren't worth the results that most visitors get. Photography or other filming at bat flight may be done under a special use permit obtained from the park at least two weeks in advance.

Spaces to accommodate people using wheelchairs are located at the entrance to the amphitheater. Restrooms are available and fully accessible.

Pets are not allowed in the amphitheater area.

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