Cave Animals, animals that live all or part of their lives in caves. Temporary cave tenants include bears, mountain lions, foxes, wildcats, and many other carnivorous animals, as well as bats, oilbirds, and swifts. Permanent dwellers include many kinds of fish, salamanders, crayfish and other crustaceans, insects, and spiders.

Temporary Tenants

Many large meat-eating animals make their homes in natural caves. They usually live near the entrance. They sleep, hibernate, bear young, and sometimes eat in the cave. Many kinds of bats live in caves during the daytime, clinging to the ceiling with their claws. At dusk, they fly out to feed. Certain birds, such as the swifts and South American oilbirds, live in caves.

Bones of the cave bear, hyena, leopard, wolf, and lion have been discovered in European caves. It is thought that these animals may have spent much of their time in caves during the last advance of the glaciers.

Permanent Dwellers

Animals that live permanently in caves are usually partially or totally blind. Since eyes are useless in the darkness, these organs have tended to degenerate (lose their function), as in the blindfish. On the other hand, the senses of smell and touch become especially keen. Cave animals are usually very pale in color. They are carnivorous, preying upon each other, since only a few fungi are able to live in the underground darkness. The bodies of cave animals are modified in various vays. Cave crustaceans, for example, have especially long and sensitive feelers.

Cave fishCave fish are usually partially or totally blind.