Bats in Bocas del Toro

Bats in Bocas del Toro

The Bocas del Toro Archipelago is home to dozens of species of bats. Bats are normally out flying only at night, so you may not even be aware that bats live here.

In Bocas town you can see "fishing bats" that use their sharp-clawed feet to catch tiny fish swimming near the surface of the sea. These bats have a 20-inch wingspan and a face like a bulldog. Another species feeds on insects near the water’s surface.

There are several species of fruit-eating bats. Plus a number of species that feed on nectar and pollen from flowers. The bats disperse seeds in the forest and pollinate plants. Large carnivorous bats eat small rodents and lizards, a small roosting bird, or even another bat. Vampire bats probably also live here - they are medium-sized bats and take small amounts of blood from forest animals, but are not a danger to humans.

Boca’s bats sleep during the day in limestone caves. One large cave on Isla Colon, called La Gruta, is both a religious shrine and also the home to thousands of bats who hang from the ceiling. Other bats roost under tree bark, and sometimes under the roofs of houses. A few species of bats modify palm and banana leaves to make their roosts.

Females give birth to only one young, which can be 30% of the weight of the mother. Bats mature quickly and the young can be flying at four weeks. Bats can over 30 years.

La Gruta bat cave is in one of the villages along the road across the middle of Isla Colon.

The fresh water spring is a shrine to the Virgin Mary. The area is shaded by trees and is cool even at high noon in summer. As you enter into the cave, the light from religious candles illuminates the walls. Venture further into the cave and you will see thousands of small fruit bats sleeping upside down and hanging from the ceiling.

Bocas del Toro Information