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Deadline is Wednesday to sign up for Bat Watch

by Ed Godfrey Published: June 1, 2013
About 1 million bats can be seen as they leave the Selman Bat Cave at feeding time.
About 1 million bats can be seen as they leave the Selman Bat Cave at feeding time.

The deadline to sign up for the annual summer bat watches at the Selman Bat Cave near Freedom is Wednesday (June 5).
These annual summer get-togethers are held every weekend in July at the Selman Bat Cave Wildlife Management Area, where the Selman Bat Cave is used every year by migratory female Mexican free-tailed bats to raise pups.
In the evenings, they take flight in mass numbers to feast on literally tons of insects.
Each night’s viewing activities are limited to 75 visitors who are randomly drawn from a pool of mailed-in registration forms, which is available online at www.wildlifedepartment.com.
Applicants must print, complete and mail their registration form to the Wildlife Department at Bat Watch Program, P.O. Box 53465 Oklahoma City, OK 73152 by Wednesday.
Only mailed registration forms post-marked on or by Wednesday will be accepted, and instructions for completing the form should be read carefully to ensure correctly completed registration. Successful registrants will receive an e-mail confirmation and a packet in the mail.
The cost is $12 for admission ($6 for children 8 to 12 years old).
“Given the popularity of this event, the Department uses this approach to streamline its registration process,” said Melynda Hickman, wildlife diversity biologist for the Wildlife Department.
More information and details about the Selman Bat Watch can be found online at www.wildlifedepartment.com.
The Wildlife Department purchased the area around the bat cave in 1996 because of its ecological importance to the Mexican free-tailed bat.
Hickman said the cave is important because it is one of only four major sites in Oklahoma that is used by females to raise their young.
The bats serve as free pest control. They spend daylight hours inside the cave, but most of the action is after sunset.
“Studies tell us that the bats at Selman Bat Cave eat about 10 tons (20,000 pounds) of insects every night,” Hickman said.
The bats’ evening emergence is the highlight of a Bat Watch, but there is more to the evening than simply watching bats.
Buses take visitors to the Selman Bat Cave Wildlife Management Area, usually closed to the public, where they learn facts about bats and the prairie community.
There also is an optional nature hike before the bats emerge.
For more information, call (405) 990-4977 or log on to www.wildlifedepartment.com

by Ed Godfrey
Reporter Sr.
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
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