The story begins in 1987 when a fire destroyed Johnson Hall which was then located on Buckman Drive just next to Dauer Hall. Johnson Hall had been home to nearly 5,000 Brazilian free-tailed bats (Tadarida brasiliensis cynocephela). A different subspecies known as the Mexican free-tailed bat (T. brasiliensis mexicanus) is common in the western U. S. and large colonies migrate each year between the U. S. and Mexico. These are the bats found in great numbers at Carlsbad Caverns and Bracken Cave. Our Brazilian free-tails, however, tend to reside here year round, although, they do move from roost to roost depending on weather conditions, season of the year, human disturbances, etc.; but back to our story.
Having lost their home at Johnson Hall, many of these bats discovered that the design of the newly constructed Percy Beard Track and Field Stadiums was just the ticket. Others moved into the west end stands of the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at Florida Field. The bats seemed to be enjoying their new homes, but many of the fans didn't care for the musky odor of free-tailed bats let alone the gentle rain of guano as the bats left their roost during the evening games in search of night-flying insects.