Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release:
April 18, 2006
The Mexican free-tailed bat is now the official flying
mammal of Oklahoma.
Governor Signs Legislation Selecting Bat as State’s Flying
The Governor has signed legislation
naming the Mexican free-tailed bat as the official state flying
mammal of Oklahoma.
The bat – unusual for its long, skinny tail and unique migratory
pattern – has become a major tourist attraction for the Selman
Bat Cave Wildlife Management Area located in Freedom, Oklahoma,
just west of Alabaster Caverns State Park.
Laughlin, author of Senate Bill 1678 recognizing the Mexican
free-tailed bat as the state’s official flying mammal, said
the legislation was authored to promote tourism.
“The Selman Bat Cave Wildlife Management Area is a special
tourist attraction,” said Laughlin, R-Woodward. “Each
summer, tourists from all over the country visit the caves to observe
the bats as they come to give birth and exit the cave for feeding
at night. It really is a rare sight.”
Approximately one million bats migrate to the caves, which serve
as a maternity colony, each year. Only female bats and their offspring
migrate to the caves, making it an opportunity to observe particularly
unusual behavioral patterns. At sundown, thousands of bats will
ascend from the caves, many with their offspring hanging from their
bodies, in a massive spiraling cloud to feed on insects.
“This mammal is good for Oklahoma in that it brings tourist
dollars to our state, provides a learning experience for observers,
and helps cut down on the mosquito population,” Laughlin said.
“The bats will eat nearly 40 percent of their own body weight
in mosquitos each night, which is great for area landowners. I encourage
all Oklahomans to make plans to visit Alabaster Caverns State Park
and take a tour of the Selman Bat Cave.”
For more information on the Bat Caves and Alabaster Caverns State
Park, visit www.touroklahoma.com, or call the park office at (580)
621-3381. Tours of the Selman Bat Cave are offered each weekend
in July and August. Registration for the 2006 season begins May
26. To add your name to the mailing list, call (405) 424-0099.
For more information,
Senator Laughlin's Office: (405) 521-5626