Eons ago when ancestral bats sought the shelter of darkness as protection from predators their future reputation as creatures of mystery and evil was born. Hampered by this reputation and numerous misconceptions, these flying mammals have encountered a new and even more dangerous enemy: MAN.
Thirteen species of bats live within Bandelier National Monument. The most commonly seen species is the Mexican Free-tailed bat (Tadarida brasiliensis). Frequently a colony of these bats roosts in the cave above Long House on the Main Loop Trail. In 1986, about 10,000 Mexican free-tails and some little brown bats (Myotis yumanensis) moved in and continued to use the cave every summer until 2002.