November is the month to give thanks and Hannibal Parks & Recreation is giving thanks to bats.

There will be two opportunities in November to take part in Night Hikes through Sodalis Nature Preserve:

The night hikes are scheduled in time for participants to see the bats at sunset.

Sodalis Nature Preserve was named for the myotis sodalis (Indiana bat) species that was discovered in the park. Bat scientists estimate that about 200,000 of the bats hibernate in the abandoned limestone mines.

Here are just a few reasons to be thankful for bats:

  • Bats eat an incredible number of night-flying insects including mosquitoes, as many as 1,200 insects in an hour of feeding;
  • bats are critical pollinators of seeds and fruits that we eat;
  • fruit-eating bats are very important for the dispersal of seeds, which is especially important for cleared and damaged forests;
  • Bat droppings (guano) are a very effective fertilizer

The full 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.

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

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 HPR programs.