), making it the world's largest bat colony and one of the largest concentration of mammals on earth.
The emergence of these millions of bats, as they spiral out of the cave at dusk for their nightly insect hunt, is an unforgettable sight.
In March and April, expectant females return to Bracken after overwintering in Mexico. In the latter part of June, females give birth to a single pup, nearly doubling the cave's population.
As the bats give birth, cave walls become densely packed with naked pups, clustering tightly at up to 500 per square foot. Before leaving her infant in the nursery with the other pups, each mother spends up to an hour getting acquainted with her baby's scent and vocalizations.
James tried all of that, but even though he says he’s grown from his past mistakes and is now 100 percent committed to his current life—complete with new wife, professional drag-racer Alexis De Joria, and her daughter, Isabella—he’s steered a post-Bullock course some consider confounding, and others, well, they use less diplomatic words.
Collisions with other bats or cave walls can be fatal.Located less than 20 miles from downtown San Antonio, the cave has come under increasing threat of urbanization.If not for the generous donations of BCI's members and friends, the cave and its remarkable bats likely would have been engulfed by subdivisions.Just how does one recover from such transgressions?Apologize, beg forgiveness, head to rehab and hope our collective attention span shifts to the next scandal with record-breaking speed?An emergency landing is certain death; the floor is teeming with millions of carnivorous dermestid beetles that can reduce a young bat to a cleaned skeletown within a few minutes.Fatalities are high, and at least half won't survive their first year.BCI stewards the entire property, protecting endangered birds and rehabilitating the land by removing invasive vegetation and reviving native plants.The bats of Bracken Cave comprise the largest known bat maternity colony in the world, producing millions of young each year.As he stokes the embers, his dogs—super-sweet pit bulls Mr.T and Cinnabun and French bulldogs Pierre and Coco, who recently became parents—cluster near the heat, wagging their tails and competing for attention.