9 Unique Cave Animals To Look For On Your Next Trip

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Beware: You should never explore wild caves alone or without proper gear. Consider getting in touch with a Grotto of the National Speleological Society at www.caves.org or a qualified cave club. These groups are skilled and will train you. Without sufficient knowledge, preparation, and equipment, cave exploring can lead to serious injury or death.

Ordinarily, when you hear the word “cave,” your mind conjures images of dark, dank places filled with scary creatures. But it turns out that not all cave animals are dangerous and risky.

While you might be planning to go exploring a new caving site, it’s good to be aware of the indigenous animals in that area. It will make for both for a more interesting and a more safe experience.

Some are cute and cuddly, while others can be quite dangerous. This post will educate you about some of the strangest (and most adorable) animals living in caves worldwide. Try to make a note of each one when you encounter them, and be careful not to disturb them unnecessarily.

1.   Cave Crayfish

A rare red cave crayfish sitting along some leaves.

If you’ve heard of a crawfish, you might think this was a typo. You’re right. The terms crawfish, crayfish, and crawdads refer to the same animal.

When it comes to cave crayfish, these animals are blind, and they aren’t any different than their ocean-dwelling counterparts, except for one thing: they live in caves.

Cave crayfish live in caves all over Mexico and the United States. However, they’re most common in Mexico City’s caves (where they were first discovered), Alabama’s Bear Cave, and Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

The most intriguing thing about these creatures is that they don’t have eyes. They use their antennae instead.

This helps make them less susceptible to predators such as larger fish who may try to eat them while swimming around in dark waters where it’s hard to see anything other than their prey’s head or tail moving back and forth across your line of sight every now and then when something swims past you quickly enough before disappearing into darkness again.

2.   Deathstalker Scorpion

Having heard of this creature before, you may not be familiar with what it really looks like. The Deathstalker Scorpion is the biggest in the world, and while they are not hostile towards humans, they are still dangerous—especially to children and pets.

Found primarily in the Middle East, where temperatures can reach 110 degrees Fahrenheit or higher during summer, these scorpions are sturdy to say the least.

If you run into one of these creatures, don’t worry—they won’t attack unless provoked or threatened.

However, even though they’re slow-moving (and therefore unlikely to kill you), their venom is still highly potent. If ever stung by one of these guys, seek medical attention immediately.

A picture showing a greener variation of the Deathstalker Scorpion, found in the Middle East.

3.   Texas Blind Salamander – An Endangered Cave Animal

The Texas blind salamander is a cave salamander found in the Edwards Aquifer region of Central Texas.

This small, irregularly shaped animal has a tiny head and a spongy body that may be tan or light brown in color.

It inhabits shallow streams, seeps, springs, and caves with good water flow. The Texas blind salamander can also be found in Mexico and other parts of the United States outside its range in Central Texas.

The now endangered Texas blind salamander is an animal found in the Edwards Aquifer region of Central Texas.

4.   Chilean Rose Tarantula

A close-up of a chilean rose tarantula, one of the largest tarantulas and terrifying cave animals out there.

Chilean rose tarantulas are the most enormous tarantulas in the world. They’re also known as Chilean flamingo tarantulas because of their pink and black colors, reminiscent of a flamingo’s feathers.

These arachnids live in Chile and Argentina in South America, but they can also live wild in other countries worldwide, including Australia and New Zealand.

Unlike different types of cave animals, the Chilean rose tarantula isn’t poisonous and isn’t aggressive either; it just wants to live out its life peacefully among other animals in its habitat.

5.   Our Favorite Cute Cave Animal: The Pink Fairy Armadillo

A pink fairy armadillo is one of the rarest cave animals, shown here crawling on some grass.

The tiniest species of armadillo is the Pink Fairy Armadillo. It measures up to 5.2 inches (13 cm) in length and weighs less than 2 ounces (57 grams).

The Pink Fairy Armadillo has a pinkish-brown coat with a black stripe down its back, which makes it camouflaged against the desert sand dunes where it lives.

Like all armadillos, the Pink Fairy Armadillo can roll itself into an almost impregnable ball by folding over its legs and head.

This technique helps protect it from predators such as foxes and birds of prey when they dig into burrows looking for food or perhaps more vulnerable creatures like snakes or reptiles.

These cute animals are quite rare, so we don’t recommend trying to catch one on your own. In addition, this particular type of armadillo counts as extremely endangered, having a population of less than 100 worldwide.

6.   Mexican Free-Tailed Bat

A picture of the Mexican Free-Tailed bat sitting on a rock.

The most common bat in the United States is the Mexican free-tailed bat, also known as a “Mexican long-nosed bat.” You can find it throughout North America and as far north as Canada.

In addition to caves, these bats live in trees, bridges, and buildings. They’ve become endangered due to habitat loss and disease spread by humans who have come into contact with them or their droppings.

This is just one of several species of bats that can be found inside or near caves. You can learn more about bats here.

7.   ‘Opaeka’a Falls Cave Wolf Spider

The ‘Opaeka’a Cave Wolf Spider is a species native to Kauai, Hawaii. It gets its name from its characteristic wolf-like markings and behavior and its habitat in natural lava tubes formed by volcanic activity.

Its body is covered with fine hairs that act as sensory organs and enable it to detect vibrations around it, thus giving it an edge over prey animals in the darkness of caves.

Like many other spiders, the ‘Opaeka’a Cave Wolf Spider has two body parts: a cephalothorax (the upper section) and an abdomen (the lower area).

The cephalothorax contains eight eyes closely grouped together on top of each other; this arrangement gives them excellent depth perception when hunting prey or avoiding predators.

The Opaeka'a Falls Cave Wolf Spider is one of the unique animals found in Hawaii.

Each leg has seven segments; large claws called tarsi are attached at the tips of these segments.

The ‘Opaeka’a Cave Wolf Spider hunts at night when there are fewer predators around than during daylight hours.

They consume insects such as crickets and other cave-dwelling invertebrates (animals without backbones). They kill them by injecting venom through their fangs into their prey’s body, before wrapping them up in silk threads produced by an organ located behind the chelicerae (mouthparts used for feeding). When they digest them later, they can do so without any risk from outside threats.

8.   Olm

The olm is a blind, cave-dwelling salamander. It’s also one of the world’s rarest amphibians and is protected by law in most countries.

The olm is also called a proteus or “human fish” due to its extremely long lifespan; some specimens have lived up to 150 years old.

While this seems like an eternity for us humans, the typical olm only lives an average of about 68 years. They’re not so different from us, are they?

A close-up picture of an olm, a cave-dwelling salamander.

9.   Kaua’i Cave Wolf Spider

The Kaua’i Cave Wolf Spider (Adelocosa stops) is a spider found on the Hawaiian island of Kaua’i. It is one of the enormous wolf spiders in the world, reaching a leg span of up to 12 cm. The species received its name due to the caves it typically inhabits, but you may find them elsewhere as well.

While these things can certainly spook a caver who finds himself face to face with one, these are completely harmless to humans. They’re referred to as the “blind spider”, and are only found in certain caves. Only six populations are known to exist.

Like some other spiders, the Kaua’i Wolf Spider doesn’t build a nest. It lurks and waits for prey by sensing vibrations and chemical signals.


Cave crayfish, deathstalker scorpions, Chilean rose tarantulas, and Mexican free-tailed bats comprise just a few of the cave animals discussed here. There’s no doubt that some cave animals are scary and dangerous, especially in their own environment, but if you are careful, you should not have any problems. In addition, some of these animals, such as the Texas salamander, have become endangered. These creatures don’t have many places to go, so it is up to us to protect them.

You will surely come across some unique plants near or inside the caves as well. You can learn about some cave plants here.

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