Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cueva Murcielago (Bat Cave)

One of the SEPRI (our group here) members heard about this cave from Ricardo who lives near it. It is in the Vega Alto area which, like a lot of Puerto Rico is mountainous. We headed out to the cave figuring it would be a slow paced day since there were at least 9 people coming. We met at a shopping mall, drove up to Ricardo's house, got all the gear ready and went down the road, down a hill, across the river and ended up at the cave entrance. This is the entrance looking from the inside.
It is a short cave that is full of bats! The surprise for us was that it is full of a different kind of bat than what we have seen before. These bats have pressed down little ears and are kind of big. We probably have seen this type before but this is the first time they have attached to us so we could see them close up maybe (besides in Cucaracha - different long-nose kind). Anyway, as we approached to bat area it was like a movie the way the all swarmed out. Our lights and noise really disturbed them.

This photos shows a bat stuck on a helmet.

Here one is attached to my arm. Unfortunately the sump is pretty close to the cave entrance and it was the end of the line for this cave. There were not any upper levels or tunnels or holes that needed to be explored. Ricardo brought a thin line in case the water was clear and he could go through the sump. Anthony Castro and Tom Miller have gone through this sump and into the one after it without success. It was the end of the line for the day.

I had Jeff shine his light behind me so I could make this alien self-portrait. Here's part of the group heading out of the cave. I waited in the bat area with my lights off until everyone was gone and got to see all the bats swooping back in.

Jose is in the water near the sump.

There was one little side tunnel at the entrance that we went through. Here Jose and Bro sit and contemplate. We wandered around the steep hillside for a while looking for a supposed alternative entrance that may be past the sumps. No luck. Afterwards we went back to Ricardo's house and his wife had made rice and beans and had a salad and other snacks out for us. That was really nice of him since he doesn't know any of us and isn't part of the caving association. It was kind of nice socializing with people before we headed home.


Cassie said...

Do the bats in Puerto Rico have rabies like they do here? That would freak me out. If anyone has any contact with a bat here, they have to get a rabies vaccination!

Anonymous said...

Cool! I love it!

Your brazilian friend...


ARBUZ said...

Friendly bunch !
No rabies recorded in bats in the island.
I believe it is because they are the only native mammals.
Where do bats get rabies from? I have to find out :p
Excellent pics! <^..^>