Watch Bats With the Wildlife Department

May 18, 2017

The Wildlife Department's annual Selman Bat Watch gives viewers a chance to see hundreds of thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from a cave to feed. (Blake Podhajsky/ODWC)

Watch Bats With the Wildlife Department

    Oklahoma abounds with unique wildlife-watching events, including the Selman Bat Watch hosted each summer by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

   "Mexican free-tailed bats migrate to Selman Bat Cave WMA in northwestern Oklahoma to give birth to their pups. Each night, they emerge from our cave to feed on flying insects," said Melynda Hickman, wildlife diversity biologist for the Wildlife Department. "We're fortunate enough to be able to offer the public a chance to see this spectacular event -- and these bats know how to put on a show."

   Viewing opportunities are offered each Friday and Saturday night in the month of July. Information about the bats' life will be shared before the nightly emergence that typically lasts just over one hour.

   Each night's viewing activities are limited to 75 visitors drawn from a pool of mailed-in registration forms.

    Hopeful viewers must print, complete and mail their registration form to the Selman Bat Watch c/o Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, P.O. Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152 between May 30 and June 9, 2017. Only mailed registration forms postmarked on or before June 9 will be accepted. Successful registrants will receive email confirmation on June 14 and an information packet in the mail. Families or groups should send one registration form.    

   Admission to the Selman Bat Watch is $12 for adults and $6 for children ages 8-12. Children must be 8 or older to attend a watch.

   The Wildlife Department purchased Selman Bat Cave Wildlife Management Area in 1995 to conserve one of the four known Mexican free-tailed bat maternity caves in Oklahoma and to increase public appreciation of bats.

   More information about this event can be found at wildlifedepartment.com.