Annandale Ranch

Frio Bat Cave

Click here to learn about nightly bat flight tours.

Of important note is the Frio Bat Cave, which is located on a land-locked parcel within the ranch. Texas has 33 species of bats, more than any other state. Because most of these species eat insects, they play an undeniable role in the environment and economy of the state. In fact, the Mexican free-tailed bat became the official state flying mammal in 1995.

The Mexican free-tailed bat preys on flying insects, consuming its body weight in agricultural pests like cutworm and corn borer moths each night. A recent study showed that the massive colonies of these bats in eight counties of south-central Texas, such as Uvalde, save cotton growers up to $1.7 million annually from crop loss and reduced pesticide use. Ranging from the southern half of the United States to Central America, the Mexican free-tailed bat roosts in the largest mammalian colonies in the world. The species’ summer population is largely concentrated in 12 caves, the largest being Braken Cave and the second largest being Annandale’s Frio Cave. The Frio Cave contains, in the summer, a maternal bat colony. Roughly 2 to 10 million female Mexican free-tailed bats fly from the cave every night, spring through fall.

Although not technically part of the Annandale Ranch, the Frio Bat Cave is an important factor throughout the history of the ranch due to the fragility of the cave, the value of bats as effective pest control agents and later the cave’s increased public attention and subsequent nature tourism opportunities.

Click here to read the Frio Bat Cave history compiled by Chuck Williamson.

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