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Selman Bat Watch General Information

Registration for 2020 Selman Bat Watches Has Closed

COVID-19 and the Selman Bat Watch Evening

The Selman Bat Watch Program is primarily an outdoor event. To allow for proper social distancing, the number of participants has been reduced from 75 to 50 each bat watch evening. Check-in and orientation takes place outdoors at Alabaster Caverns State Park where there is plenty of space to practice social distancing. Transportation to and from the Selman Bat Watch viewing area is provided by two large school buses. The upholstered surfaces and hard surfaces in the buses will be sanitized with CDC’s recommended bleach solution before and after each bat watch evening. Hand sanitizers will be available on the buses as well. The 50 participants will be divided between the two buses and asked to seat themselves to allow for social distancing. At the Selman Bat Watch viewing area, participants can easily spread out in the viewing area either using chairs they have brought with them or using the existing benches. The portable toilet contractor will sanitize the toilets each week. Hand sanitizers and disinfectant will be provided inside each portable toilet. Before loading the buses to return to Alabaster Caverns State Park, participants will be asked to board the same bus and sit in the same seat as they did on their trip to the bat watch viewing area.

People sitting on benches watching bats fly over the horizon.
Each summer, hundreds of thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats pour from the Selman Bat Cave to feed on insects, and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s Wildlife Diversity Program offers the public the chance to watch.

Due to limited spacing, all Selman Bat Watch visitors must pre-register.  (The area is closed to the public except during official events.) This year to allow for adequate social distancing, each night’s viewing activities are limited to 50 visitors drawn from the pool of mailed-in registration forms. Admission to the Selman Bat Watch is $14 for adults and $8 for children ages 8-12. Children must be 8 years of age or older to attend.

Eight viewing opportunities are offered each year. Watches in 2020 will be held each Friday and Saturday night beginning in the month of July. (July 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 25, 31 and Aug. 1.)

How to Register:  Registration for 2020 Selman Bat Watches Has Closed

Hopeful Selman Bat Watch participants must download, complete and mail their registration form to Selman Bat Watch c/o Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, P.O. Box 53465, Oklahoma City, OK 73152 between May 26 and June 2, 2020 to be considered for 2020 watches. Please read the registration form and the below "Things to Consider if Selected for a Selman Bat Watch" carefully before completing. 

Registration forms must be postmarked on or before June 2, 2020 to be accepted for 2020 watches. 

Only one registration form is needed for families or groups. Group members should not register individually. Group size is limited to 10 on Saturday evenings.

What to Expect if Selected for a Selman Bat Watch:

Before being bused to the Selman Bat Cave Wildlife Management Area, visitors will be introduced to the Mexican free-tailed bat and other wildlife that may be encountered at the area. On site, group leaders will explain how the bats travel up to 1,400 miles each spring to give birth and raise their young in Oklahoma and take visitors on an optional ¼ mile nature walk. For your safety and to protect the bats, the cave will not be toured.

Boy showing a bat decoy to a lady while sitting on a bench.

·         There are no flush toilets on site, but port-a-potties will be available.

·         There is no running water, but drinking water will be provided.

·         The nature trail is level, but not paved.

·         Rattlesnake encounters are possible.

Things to Consider if Selected for a Selman Bat Watch:

Safety of visitors and protection of the bats are of the utmost importance. State laws protect the bats, the cave and its environs.

·         Visitors are welcome to bring collapsible lawn chairs, insect repellent, binoculars and cameras.

·         Visitors are asked to leave glass containers, water bottles, non-registered people and pets at home.

·         Visitors are asked to dress for the outdoors (sturdy shoes – no sandals) and for the heat. Please consider wearing long pants to protect your legs from brush.

·         Adults must accompany children at all times and make sure they follow the rules.

·         Visitors must remain inside the mowed viewing area boundaries

·         NO SMOKING. The cave is located in a prairie.

About Selman Bat Cave Wildlife Management Area:

This 340-acre tract of land contains one of four known maternity colonies for Mexican free-tailed bats in Oklahoma. The cave is situated among gypsum bluffs surrounded by a mixed-grass prairie community.

The property was purchased by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation in 1996 with funds donated to the Wildlife Diversity Program and from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses.