Cave Dwellers: Cave Wildlife 101
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Caves are home to some of the most unique and interesting animals in the world. Animals that live in caves have evolved over time, living their entire lives without seeing sunlight or breathing fresh air. These cave dwellers do not only survive on what they find inside the cave, but also from a diet rich with guano deposits left by generations of bats! In this blog post, we will go into detail about cave wildlife 101 so you can learn more about these fascinating creatures!
Caves are interesting pieces of nature that everyone who is crazy about adventure always wants to explore. These are naturally hollowed section of the earth – could be ground level or underground level – that is wide enough for multiple people to enter and move around.
There is so much more than just the space in these caves, but it goes far into the earth’s surface – imagine the Krubera Cave measuring 7,208ft from the entrance down. There are millions of caves found worldwide, and while some can be easily explored, some are banned from human access, and some are have not yet discovered.
Cave Dwellers: Cave Wildlife 101
But aside from the many formations you see in caves, there are a lot more things many people are yet to know about – take wildlife, for example. There is life in the cave, and some of these are strange that we have never come across before, while some are unique species of popular animals.
Cave Life 101: What Things Live In Caves?
Numerous things live in caves, even though they vary based on the area the caves are found in. Bear in mind, caves are found in both hot and cold regions and dry areas, and water bodies. Life inside a cave could include both endangered and wild animals and insects as well as plants. Interestingly, animals that reside in caves are known as troglophiles and may include insects, millipedes, spiders, centipedes, reptiles, amphibians, worms, crustaceans, and mollusks.
For those who live there, the cave is their safe zone, and humans access each time caves, one should bear in mind that you are entering their comfort zone. There are so many things that can affect the environment these animals and plants live in, such as our mere movements, the vibration of our voices, our fragrance, and so much more.
Cave dwellers fall under various categories…
* Troglobites – These species can only survive inside the caves and would be in danger should they be taken out of that environment. These are also known as “cave-dwelling organisms”.
* Troglophiles – These cave dwellers can easily survive outside a cave environment, but this part has to be done in the cave when it comes to completing their cycle.
* Trogloxene – These animals mainly exist outside the cave environment but occasionally live in the caves temporarily. Their life cycles are made complete both outside and inside the cave. So, this type of cave dweller is very versatile and can survive inside or outside a cave environment.
The word “troglo-” means “ground” in Greek, so any species that live exclusively underground qualify for this classification. These animals include some insects such as beetles and spiders (which have been found to live up to 15 meters deep), reptiles like frogs and snakes, arachnids including millipedes, crustaceans including crabs and shrimp all types of mollusks from snails down to octopuses. There’s even a species of cave-dwelling worm!
Cave Life 101: What Insects Live In Caves?
Insects are one of the most common troglofauna (cave-dwelling animals), a combination of troglophiles, troglobites, and trogloxenes. Millions of insects live in caves, and some have never even been seen with naked human eyes. Many insects that dwell in caves include flies, roaches, butterflies, bugs, various critters, and crawling insects.
Though not all insects are dangerous, you may want to be mindful of those who can be a threat if they bite you. You may also come across beetles, ladybugs, mosquitoes, fleas, dragonflies, wasps, dragonflies, and many more. In addition, you may be interested to know that thousands, if not millions, of these animal species, dwell in caves all over the world.
Giant water bugs are even found in the deepest caves and they’re huge! They can range from two to seventeen centimeters long, which is about as big around as your little finger. And there’s a type of beetle that has been recorded living at depths greater than 274 meters deep – it’s called “the world’s deepest diving insect”!
These organisms have adapted to their new environment through natural selection over time so they now live exclusively underground including all types of insects like beetles and spiders (which have been found to live up to 15 meters deep), reptiles such as frogs and snakes, arachnids including millipedes, crustaceans including crabs and shrimp all types of cave-dwelling plants including ferns and mushrooms.
What snakes live in caves?
Many snake species exist in caves, but some of the most common types are known as cave racers. These snakes are non-venomous. Some of the other types include Rat Snakes, and if you ask us, these are some creepy creatures.
They mostly hang from the roof and walls of the cave, and since they feed on bats, each time one flies by, they launch out to get it. We are sure you wouldn’t love to be in a cave while this is happening.
Some boa snakes may be a little more frightening as they tend to team up to complete a mission. If one cannot get the job done, you may see a chain of snakes swing by to capture food as they hunt…creepy if you ask!
The Dinets are another type of cave snake that commonly hang out at the cave entrance where they make a “fence” to capture bats as they try to escape.
Cave Life 101: What Dangerous Animals Live In Caves?
Many dangerous animals are living in caves and, in most cases, do not attack unless they are in immediate danger. Caves found in the wildest regions often see their hollow section being a hideaway for these animals as they hibernate or seek a safe place to raise their family. Some of these wild ones include…
* Bears – Many caves worldwide serve as home to many different types of bears, especially those who hibernate during a specific season. They tend only to come out whenever they set out for food hunting or probably just for “fresh air.”
Many different types of bears, especially those who hibernate during a specific season, find a home in some caves.
There is always the chance of running into bears, and these animals are known to become aggressive if they feel threatened or their territory has been invaded. They are likely one of the most dangerous animals you can come across while exploring caves because of both their size as well as strength…one comforting fact? They are not fans of total darkness and won’t venture deep into a cave.
* Scorpions – Many people may believe these do not classify as dangerous, but they are as they possess deadly stings in their tails, which are used as their venom injectors. They also have pincers on their arms that they use for attacking purposes.
* Foxes – There are many different types of foxes globally, and some should be kept as far away from human interaction as possible. These animals tend to get very defensive if they believe their lives are in danger and would easily attack.
* Weasels – They may not sound as bad but bear in mind these animals can take down prey that weighs up to 10 times their own weight. Well, they may not be as strong to take down a full-grown human, but they can pose a threat. Entering caves, you may want to keep your pet dogs and cats pretty close to you as weasels are known to attack these animals in particular.
* Cone Snakes – These snakes live in warmer water close to coral reefs of underwater cave formations. If they suppose a threat is impending, they will strike with deadly venom. It is best to stay clear, and since they tend to hide in crevices of these rock formations, you may want to be extremely careful.
* Cave Fish – Some cave fish have adapted long ago for living in these dark habitats by losing their eyesight. But most species still use this sense when coming into contact with light or other various objects outside the cave’s environment. This is because they’re almost completely blind due to having an eye that developed over time without any need for sight!
* Stonefish – Here is another famous sea-cave creature you may want to stay clear of even though they are relatively hard to identify if you don’t know them. They are quite deadly, and as their name suggests – stonefish – they take on the appearance of stones, so you have to be careful how you touch certain surfaces.
* Anglerfish – These are some of the most well-known cave dwellers, but you may want to steer clear. They have spiny fins and a lure on their head in order to attract prey.
* Wolves – Yeah, they live in caves, and you may want to be mindful of how you traverse their safe habitat. They are relatively careful of their safety, and as one of the most dangerous animals in the world, you want to watch out for them.
* Insects – Not all insects are dangerous, but some are pretty dangerous and deadly if you come in contact with them, so you have to be careful when touring caves and ensure you wear proper protective gear. Take, for instance, the tsetse flies, they are blood-sucking insects that are known to leave germs and bacteria on their victims after they bite.
What animals sleep in caves?
If you ask us, we would say all types of animals sleep in caves except for a few who live a more “domesticated” type of living. Depending on the nature of the cave, the animals may vary as to if it is a sea-based cave, you will find lots of sea creatures hiding out in these hollow sections.
While the cave exists on dry land, you will probably find more animals than in a sea cave. They dwell here for safety, hibernation, or food-hunting.
What animals live in the dark zone of a cave?
We would say the most popular animal that lives in the darker region of the cave are bats, as they are considered one of the biggest nocturnal animals. Some of the other animals who dwell in the darker regions include cave beetles, cave crayfish, eyeless shrimp, Texas Salamander, eyeless fish, and blind flatworms.
If you stop noticing, a strange feature about these animals is that most of them cannot see. However, their heightened sense of sound and smell help them to navigate the dark without putting their lives in danger.
The only time that these cave dwellers will come to the surface is during mating season or if they are being chased by a predator.
If we want to talk about another animal who spends significant amounts of time in caves, then we would have to say bats. Bats eat many different foods like insects and caterpillars.
Why Do Bats Live In Caves?
Bats are considered nocturnal animals who strive and feed on their prey, mainly at night. As such, they seek to find a haven in which they can remain protected until they head out, and caves provide this avenue.
Most caves are out of reach of disturbance as well as there are some areas of the cave which remain undisturbed, so they strive well in these regions. Interestingly, they are the most common animal species to live in caves as they can be in up to 20 million colonies.
These amazing cave dwellers are often threatened by humans as they believe that these flying mammals transmit diseases. Some people even go so far as to kill them for this reason.
So as we’ve seen there’s a whole lot of cave wildlife to be aware of when exploring these natural wonders. We hope this post has been helpful in understanding some more about what to expect when entering the world below our feet!
Other articles you may find interesting if you like Cave Life 101:
- Ultimate Guide to Onyx Cave, Arkansas (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)
- Ultimate Guide to Ursa Minor, California (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)
- Ultimate Guide to Boulder Cave, Washington (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)
- Ultimate Guide to Mystic Caverns, Arkansas (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)
- Ultimate Guide to Tree Root Cave, Washington (Tours, Pricing, History, Map)
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