• Lower Cliff Dwelling

    Tonto

    National Monument Arizona

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  • Visitor Center is closed

    The Visitor Center and bookstore will be closed for several weeks for construction. A temporary Visitor Center will be set up in the parking lot. The trail to the Lower Cliff Dwelling will be open during this period. No entrance fees will be collected.

Mexican Free-tailed Bat

Mexican Free-tailed Bat
Tadarida brasiliensis

No photograph available

Wingspan: 12 – 14”; Body length: 2 – 2 1/2”
Diet: small moths and beetles

This bat, also known as the Brazilian free-tailed bat, is found from the southern US to northern South America. Habitat varies from region to region, but in the Southwest, Mexican Free-tailed bats primarily live in caves.

During summer, about 20,000,000 of these bats occupy Bracken Cave near San Antonio, Texas – the largest concentration of mammals in the world. Bats typically eat more than 50% of their body weight in insects each night, so a colony this size can consume over 20,000 tons of insects yearly.

Like most bat species, free-tailed bats are very susceptible to human disturbance, especially during the maternity season. Their low reproductive rate makes population recovery difficult. Identification and protection of maternity colonies is essential for conservation of bats.

Did You Know?

hillside with wildflowers

Spring can be a very colorful season at Tonto National Monument, but when will the wildflowers bloom? Rain is needed throughout the winter, and warm days are a good indicator of a full bloom ahead. If you miss the peak flowering season, remember that you’ve also missed the peak crowds. More...