Twenty thousand Mexican free-tailed bats filled the sky over the Rillito River Thursday night just after sunset. The bats, mostly female, will be in Tucson through August and perhaps into September. Each will have one or two young. Right now, the young will stay under the Campbell Avenue bridge as the mothers go and search for insects for food throughout the night.
"They go to the agricultural fields and feed on huge numbers of insects. So, this is why they're very important here because they are bug-eating machines," said Carole DeAngeli, a docent with the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.
"I've never seen them before, so, just to come down here and see that we live so close to something that's really cool, it's pretty fun to see something that unique in Tucson," said Andrea Cambron, who was watching the bats at the Campbell Avenue bridge over the Rillito.
The bats can also be seen taking to the skies from the Pantano River Park at Pantano and 22nd Street.
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