Last Updated on June 13, 2023 by Shu
Cave animals are a fascinating group of creatures that have adapted to life in complete darkness. Since prehistoric times, various species of animals have chosen to reside in caves. Caves provide protection from predators and shelter from adverse weather conditions.
Types of Cave Animals – Animals that Live in Caves
There are still plenty of cave-dwelling creatures that still choose to live in caves today. The variety of cave wildlife is fascinating.
If you want to learn more about the different types of animals that live in caves then keep reading. We have put together this helpful guide to give you lots of interesting information.
Amphibian Texas Blind Salamanders (Olm Salamander)
Cave salamanders are troglobites that thrive in cave environments.
A troglobite is a type of animal that is so well adapted to cave dwelling that they would struggle to live in any other environment. This is a category of salamander that includes several different species.
They have developed various features to help them adapt and survive. The Olm is a species of Salamander that lives in Southeast Europe that is entirely blind and looks very similar to a snake.
The Texas Blind Salamander has more of a typical salamander appearance and lives in the caves in Texas.
Tumbling Creek Cave Snail
Tumbling Creek Cave Snail, scientifically known as Antrobia culveri, is a rare land snail that is only found in the Tumbling Creek Cave system in Missouri, United States.
The cave system is located in the Ozark Highlands region and boasts a complex network of underground streams, caverns, and passages. The snail’s habitat is limited within the cave system to small rock crevices and limited standing water.
These snails are blind and albino, adapting to life in the dark, cavernous environment of their habitat. Due to their unique and isolated habitat, these snails are highly susceptible to environmental disturbances and are listed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as an endangered species.
Cave beetles are a good example of a Troglophile – they spend a lot or all of their life inside a cave environment, but they could still survive outside of a cave.
Cave beetles are largely found in China. They are very small – less than half an inch long – with an elongated head and prothorax. They are very well adapted to living in dark conditions.
Northern Cave Bat
When you think of an animal that lives in a cave, a bat might be the first thing that comes to mind. The Northern cave bat is found in large numbers in Australia and feeds mostly on insects.
They are quite small, with grayish brown fur, and have exceptional flying skills. They feed mainly on insects, and use their agility to catch them during flight.
These bats tend to live in the entrances of caves rather than deep inside.
Harvestmen are a type of arachnid that can be found in caves all around the world. They are also known as cave spiders or troglobites.
These creatures typically reside in dark and damp cave environments where they can easily hide and hunt for prey. They are unique in that they have long legs that allow them to navigate through the otherwise difficult terrain of a cave.
This particular species of arachnid is well adapted to living in complete darkness, and it’s common to find them grouped together in high numbers.
The habitat of a Cave Harvestman varies depending on the location it is found; for example, some live in limestone caves while others prefer to inhabit sandstone or granite caves. However, regardless of their specific habitat, it is clear that Cave Harvestmen play an important role in their respective ecosystems.
Cave fish is a category used to describe different species of fish that live in bodies of water inside cave systems. A lot of cave fish are blind, and some of them don’t even have eyes.
This is because there is little to no light deep in the caves, so eyes are not needed. The fish find their food through other means – such as vibrations in the water.
Interestingly, deep sea fish have not evolved in the same way- they still have their eyes even though no sunlight penetrates the sea below 1000 meters. This is due to the bioluminescence which is present in the deep sea.
Kitum Cave Elephants
Elephants are not the type of animals that you would expect to find in a cave, mainly because of their size.
However, there is one group of elephants in Western Kenya that go into the Kitum caves to mine for salt.
The caves are found in the Mount Elgon region, and tusk marks can be found in the caves as deep as 150 meters inside.
The elephants use their tusks to chip off parts of the cave walls and chew them to get the nutrients from the salt.
Cave Wolf Spider
This species of spider is known as the ‘blind wolf spider’ and it is incredibly rare. Due to the dark cave environment that these spiders live in, they do not have any eyesight.
This endangered species lives off cave amphipods – cave crustaceans.
They are very sensitive to chemicals and anything that does not belong in a natural cave environment, so their numbers have dwindled due to human interference in their environment.
When humans use caves to have parties or social gatherings, the nicotine from cigarettes poisons the spiders and kills them.
The litter left behind attracts insects and animals that wouldn’t usually enter the cave, upsetting the delicate balance of the cave ecosystem.
Devil Hole Pupfish (Critically Endangered Species)
It is a rare species of fish that can be found in its natural habitat only in Devil’s Hole, a geothermal water-filled cave in the Amargosa Valley, Nevada.
Unfortunately, Devil Hole Pupfish is on the verge of extinction. The species has been listed under the Endangered Species Act since 1967, and it is estimated that only a few hundred of these fish are left in the wild. The population decline is mainly due to human activities, such as changes in the water quality and flow resulting from the diversions of the Amargosa River, which reduce the available habitat for the pupfish.
Cave crayfish can be found in aquatic caves all over the world, but their largest populations are in Southeastern United states such as Florida and Alabama.
There is a limited supply of food in the caves, so these crayfish have adapted by developing a much slower metabolism which helps them to preserve energy.
They don’t have the same pigmentation as other crayfish which makes them white in color. They have also developed longer antennae to help them feel their way through the darkness.
They do not have any eyesight as the caves are so dark it is not necessary.
The Cave Pseudoscorpion, also known as Chthonius, is a tiny arachnid that can live in a variety of habitats, including caves, leaf litter, and soil. They are found all around the world from Europe to Africa and Asia to North America.
They are not mobile creatures and cannot move easily like most other animals. They can only crawl using their eight legs. They are not venomous and are not aggressive. Instead, they are shy and tend to hide in small nooks and crevices to avoid danger or to stay hidden while waiting for prey to pass by.
The Swiftlet, also known as the Collocalia, is a tiny bird that belongs to the Apodidae family. These birds can be found living in various places around the world, including Southeast Asia, Australia, and parts of Africa.
Interestingly, Swiftlets are known for building their homes in unique locations and structures. They construct their nests out of their own saliva, which hardens into a white, gluey substance that can be used to make nests on a wide variety of surfaces. Some species of Swiftlets can be found living in caves, while others may build their homes on the sides of cliffs or in dense forests.
These birds are also highly valued for their nests, and are often targeted by nest hunters. This has put significant pressure on populations of these birds, leading to concerns about their conservation.
Temporary Cave Species
There are lots of different species of animals that will use caves for temporary shelter. This could be to help them hide from a predator, or to avoid a storm or particularly bad weather.
Some of these animals include rats, raccoons, foxes, and some birds.
Caves have very well balanced and sensitive ecosystems which can be easily disturbed by outside influences.
The cave animals have adapted to the environment by developing characteristics and features that are well suited to cave conditions.
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- Animals That Live In Burrows
- Animals That Live In The Ground
- Animals That Live In Volcanoes
- Animals That Live In The Mountains
- Animals That Live In The Taiga
- Animals That Live In The Jungle
- Animals That Live In Coral Reefs
- Animals That Live In Grassland
- Animals That Live In The Savanna
- Animals That Live In The Tundra
- Animals That Live In The Desert
- Animals That Live In The Rainforest
- Animals That Live In The Forest
- Animals That Live In The Water
- Animals that Live in Ponds