Brazilian free-tailed bats are not just agile evening aviators, they’re astonishingly fast too, clocked at speeds up to 100 miles per hour!
Free-tailed bats average 3.5 inches long and weigh in at about 0.43 ounces. Average wingspan is 11-inches. At almost half its total length, the bat’s tail stretches beyond the uropatagium (the membrane between their legs), giving them the name "free-tailed" bats.
Bats are beneficial. Seventy percent of the world's bats eat insects. One bat can devour up to 3,000 insects in a single night. Bats are the primary predator of night-flying insects in the world. Their contribution to natural, biological pest control is tremendous.
Watch Them Yourself!
Locally, the Chinsegut Conservation Center is host to a 2000-member colony of Brazilian free-tailed bats. The evening sight of the bats emerging for the night never grows old. About 10 minutes after sunset, just as the sky fades to dusk, the bats begin to vocalize and prepare for the night's flight and feeding frenzy.
Feature image credit: ©Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International