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 - Costa Rica

Bat Jungle

Bat Jungle

Quick Facts

  • Location : Between Santa Elena and Monteverde
  • Hours : 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Telephone : 2645-7701
  • Entrance Fee : General $12; Students $10

Bats hang upside down curling their wings over their faces greedily sucking on a morsel of fruit before swooping through the glass atrium for another piece at the Bat Jungle in Monteverde. More than 95 fruit and nectar eating bats, all local to Monteverde, live inside the enclosure.

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At feeding time, every day at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., the fruit bats hang upside down gripping chunks of fruit with their wings and gorging themselves. Meanwhile, the nectar eating bats, known as humming bats, hover above bat feeders flapping their wings nearly as fast as humming birds, reaching out their long tongues for a special blend of nectar.

The eight species of bats are kept in a dimly lit atrium where they've adapted to a diurnal lifestyle; eating in the daytime and sleeping at night.  The room is specially equipped with a microphone that amplifies bat's noises, which are too high frequency for humans to hear, and translates them into screeches audible to people. Outside the atrium, an education center displays, pictures and interactive exhibits to teach guests about the many peculiarities of the flying mammals.

Richard La Val, a well-respected bat biologist and author, founded the bat jungle. He's spent the last five decades studying bats and the last 35 years living in Monteverde where he settled down with his wife. In addition to educating tourists, Richard reaches out to local students taking them on excursions into the surrounding forest to catch, examine and release the bats back into the forest. Graduate students and researchers also frequent the Bat Jungle to study the bats and learn about their behaviors.

Bat Jungle in Pictures

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