Situated in the Central Range of Trinidad, Tamana Caves are home to a variety of bat species, with numbers estimated as potentially up to three million individuals.
Eleven species of bat – out of a total of the 67 species found on Trinidad – live in the caves, including frugiverous (fruit-eating) bats, insectivorous bats and the greater spare-nosed bat (the largest in the New World) . Vampire bats are also thought to live deep in the interior.
To reach the caves, it takes around 35 minutes to walk from the drop-off point to the entrance along a trail past old plantations and through verdant forest. On reaching the caves, you descend from the walk-in mouth some 20 metres into the first chamber, where hundreds of bats fly all around you. If feeling intrepid, you can squeeze through a small hole to access the next chamber in the system.
Inside the caves you are advised to wear a long-sleeved shirt and long trousers to avoid contact with the bat guano that gathers on every surface, as well as the cockroaches and other bugs that live on the floor. On your return to the surface, you wait by the cave mouths until dusk to see the spectacle of many thousands of bats emerging as they head into the forest to feed overnight. You can take amazing pictures using the flash on your camera to illuminate the bats as they rush past you.
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