Celebrating our bat-heroes

Not the human caped crusaders, we are talking the furry ones: Mexican Free-Tailed Bats. They live here in Pima County and throughout the western United States during the warm months, and spend the winter in Mexico.

Bats. From the Campbell Ave. Bridge over the Rillito. Monsoon brings bugs. Bats follow. Mexican free-tail bats are common in Tucson. These bats migrate from Mexico to Tucson in April and return to Mexico come October. Mexican free-tail bats are small animals weighing about 13 grams, with a wingspan of 10 inches. They live in the expansion joints under the bridge, here and at other bridges as well. They eat tons of bugs! Our friends.

Posted by Leslie Ann Epperson on Tuesday, July 11, 2017

This spectacular video of Tucson's Campbell Ave bridge colony of free-tailed bats was made by Tucson filmmaker Leslie Ann Epperson and used with her permission.

Every night they take flight in search of insects like moths and mosquitos. In 2008 scientists estimated that just one Tucson colony of free-tailed bats ate over 2 tons of insects during their summer here.

There are 4 bridges in Tucson that have big colonies of Mexican Free-tailed Bats:

  • East Broadway bridge over the Pantano Wash
  • North Campbell Avenue bridge over the Rillito
  • East Tanque Verde bridge over the Rillito
  • Ina Road bridge at the Santa Cruz River

Want to read more about our bats?

The Secret Lives of Bats

Other sources used: