The Congress Bridge Bat Colony


Up to 1.5 million bats summer under the Congress Street Bridge each year. ~via phoch_98, Flickr.com

Up to 1.5 million bats summer under the Congress Street Bridge each year. ~via phoch_98, Flickr.com

About:

Austin is home to the largest urban bat population in the world. Every night around sunset, millions of these tiny creatures pour out of the underbelly of the Congress Street Bridge to hunt insects around town.

Fun Facts:

  1. These bats eat between 10 and 30 THOUSAND lbs of critters a night, and help keep local mosquito populations at bay.
  2. This colony spends the winter months in Mexico, but always comes back to Austin in the spring to raise their children.
  3. Bats don’t just live under Congress bridge. Even some of the smaller overpasses along shoal creek host colonies.

Tips:

  1. While very rare, bats can carry rabies. You should never attempt to touch a bat, especially one laying on the ground.
  2. People often don’t realize that the bats come out before it is dark. Dusk is the best time, but consult the bat hot-line (512.416.5700) for the most accurate times.
  3. There are several places to watch the bats from. You can park at the Austin Statesman and watch from the park area immediately to the south east of the bridge or walk along the bridge itself. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, rent a kayak and watch from the water.

When to visit:

The best time to see the bats is during the summer months when the population almost doubles due to the birth of new bats. The bats are usually around from mid March till early November.

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