You are here

Welcome to the Bat Caves of Phnom Sampeu

In Phnom Sampeu there are three caves that contain colonies of over one million Asian wrinklelipped bats (Chaerephon plicatus). Only 13 such colonies are known in Cambodia. These are thought to support over 6.5 million bats in total, and the colonies at Sampeu are among the largest in the country.

Wrinkle-lipped bats fly up to 50 km from their roosts each night to hunt insects. These include serious agricultural pests like plant-hoppers that can destroy up to 60% of the rice harvest. As each bat eats 50–100% of its own weight (about 15 grams) every night, it is likely that the colonies in Cambodia prevent the loss of over 2,000 tons of rice a year. This equals enough rice to feed over 21,000 Cambodians annually.

Large colonies of wrinkle-lipped bats are increasingly rare in Southeast Asia due to hunting and mining of the limestone hills where they live. It is illegal to hunt, harm or harass wildlife under
Cambodian Law.