Live Bat Exhibit
Going Batty at the Nature Center
A Live Exhibit
Going Batty consists of a weekly talk and observation of local bats during May – August each year. We have two bat boxes where bats live at the nature center. These are wild bats—we never feed or touch the animals.
Guests of Cachuma Lake Recreation Area are welcome to visit our bat boxes at any time during their visit, although they typically only come out about 30 minutes after sunset, and are only residents here during the warmer months.
Saturday Evenings at dusk Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend
*Program times vary by week depending on the time of sunset*
This is a living exhibit! Please do not disturb the bats with lights or loud noises.
Keep a 10-15ft distance from bat boxes at all times.
Meet in front of the Nature Center for a Docent led talk and Q&A.
After learning about the local bats, we’ll move to the Native Garden to watch as the bats drop out of the bat boxes to feed.
Scroll down to Going Batty Program Schedule to see upcoming events.
Save the Bats!
More than half of the bat species in the United States are in severe decline or are listed as endangered. Bats play a vital role to both natural ecosystems and human society by controlling insect populations, pollinating plants, and so much more.
Learn more about the fascinating world of bats and how you can protect them with this bat fact sheet and resources, or by visiting us at the Nature Center.
History of our Resident Bats
at the Neal Taylor Nature Center
Our first bat box is about 3 feet by 1 ½ feet and was designed, built, and erected in October 2013 by Nature Center volunteer Michael Marlow. It is suspended between two poles 16 feet off the ground.
It is located behind the Nature Center in the Native Garden. Michael built a second Bat “Condo” 5 years later to accommodate our expanding bat population. This second bat box can be viewed at the Southeast end of the Nature Center’s Native Garden.
Guano (bat manure) under the Bat Box accumulates over time. Guano can transmit disease if you touch it or inhale its dust, so it is important to stay at least 10 feet away from it.
Paul Collins biologist with the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum has completed a two-year research project on bats. Paul identified these bats as the California Myyotis (Myotis californicus) which are considered micro bats. They migrate south in the winter, so they only live in our bat boxes during the warmer months. Come to our bat program or visit the nature center to learn more about these bats and other local native species.
On 9/28/15, 272 bats were counted flying out of our first box, and on 5/10/16, 238 bats were counted flying out at dusk. The bat population since then has continued to expand. In May 2023, 81 bats were counted flying out of our second bat box.
The Mexican Free-Tailed Bat (Tadarida brasiliensis), a species native to Santa Barbara, is the fastest bat in the world.
It can fly at speeds of up to 60mph!
Going Batty Program Schedule
There are no upcoming events at this time
Come by the nature center and enjoy our exhibits, weekly and seasonal events, book sales, workshops, gift shop and more!
Hours & Info
Barn Owl (Tyto Alba)