Sauta Cave National Wildlife Refuge

Quick Facts

Sauta Cave National Wildlife Refuge

Alabama

(256) 353-7243

Map Directions

Things To Do

   

Overview

Sauta Cave National Wildlife Refuge is a 264-acre refuge purchased in 1978 to provide protection for the federally endangered gray and Indiana bat and their critical habitat. The cave provides a summer roosting site for about 200,000 - 300,000 gray bats and a winter hibernaculum for both the gray and Indiana bats. There are two entrances into the cave on the refuge, but cave is closed to the public. However, during the months of June, July, and August visitors can watch the approximately 250,000 bats leave the cave en masse at dusk.

As is the case with many large caves, rare and unique species occur in Sauta Cave. As a result, the Alabama Natural Heritage Program ranks the cave's biodiversity as a site of very high significance. Surprisingly, the cave is not pristine, as it was used as a saltpeter mine during the Civil War, a nightclub during the 1920's, and a fallout shelter during the 1960's.

In addition to the rare fauna within the cave, the federally endangered Price's potato bean occurs on the refuge. All 264 acres of habitat outside of the cave is predominately hardwood forest.

Map of Sauta Cave NWR

Latitude, Longitude: 34.618093, -86.148176

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Activities

  • Hunting

    Upland game hunting is permitted on a very small portion of the refuge and is subject to the State of Alabama's Sauty Creek Wildlife Management Area Regulations.

  • Wildlife Watching

    During the months of June, July, and August, one of nature's most spectacular events occurs every evening. At dusk, approximately 250,000 bats leave the cave to begin their nightly foraging. This event can last for up to an hour. Large numbers of visitors may go to the cave on summer weekends to observe the streaming emergence of the gray bats. To view the bat emergence, park at the Refuge entrance gate and walk approximately 100 yards to the cave entrance on your right. A new wildlife viewing platform has been constructed to aid in the viewing experience. The best viewing will be from either side of the cave entrance.

Directions

Driving

The refuge is located just above the Sauty Creek embayment of TVA's Guntersville Reservoir, 7 miles west of Scottsboro, AL.

Flying

The closest major airport is in Huntsville. A variety of car rental agencies are available.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(256) 353-7243

Links