If you haven't taken a Sodalis "Night Hike" your chance is coming up tomorrow night in Hannibal. Night hikes in Sodalis Nature Preserve gives participants a good chance to see the bats for which the nature preserve is named.

The scientific name of Indiana bats is myotis sodalis. During the fall, the bats undergo a phenomenon known as swarming. During this activity, large numbers of bats fly in and out of caves from sunset to sunrise. The bats find a place to hibernate starting around October.

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According to the last census, there are more than 211,000 federally endangered Indiana bats that hibernate in the former limestone mine that closed a half-century ago and in the cave network nearby.

Night Hikes in September will be:

  • 6:30 p.m. Sept. 11
  • 6:30 p.m. Sept. 25

The full 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.

There will be a strict limit of 20 participants and reservations must be made by calling Hannibal Parks & Recreation at 221-0154 or by emailing mlrichards@hannibal-mo.gov.

Nature programs and hikes are led by Gale Rublee, a nationally certified interpreter guide with more than 25 years of experience in outdoor education. Rublee is a founding member of the Hannibal area Mississippi Hills chapter of Missouri Master Naturalists and Master Naturalist volunteers often assist with H.P.R. programs.