Night Hikes allow participants to see bats at sunset at Sodalis Nature Preserve

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Photo courtesy of Steve Orr

HANNIBAL, Mo. — As the leaves start to turn colors, Sodalis Nature Preserve is the perfect place to see plants, trees, wildlife and — of course — the bats.

People will have opportunities on Sept. 10 and Sept. 17 to take part in Night Hikes through Sodalis Nature Preserve. The night hikes are scheduled at 6:30 p.m. so participants can see the bats at sunset.

Indiana bats migrate each fall from their summer habitats to congregate in the vicinity of their hibernation sites, such as caves and abandoned mine shafts. During this time, the bats engage in mating activity and feed in the surrounding area to build the fat reserves needed during hibernation. 

The Indiana bat is a small, brown mammal about 1.5 to 2 inches long. The scientific name of Indiana bats is myotis sodalis. Scientists have determined more than 200,000 bats hibernate in the abandoned limestone mines at Sodalis Nature Preserve.

The Night Hike program lasts about two hours and follows a 2-mile paved trail. Participants are welcome to stay with the group or return to the parking lot on their own. Activities include seasonal observations, sensory activities and the telling of the creation of Sodalis Nature Preserve.

Nature programs and hikes are led by Gale Rublee, a nationally certified interpreter guide with more than 25 years of experience in outdoor education.

Participants will be limited to 20 people. Reservations must be made by calling Hannibal Parks & Recreation at 221-0154 or by emailingmlrichards@hannibal-mo.gov.

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