The Obir Dripstone Caves, the Cave as a Habitat

WHO RUNS THROUGH CAVES BLINDLY?

Caves have always had a rather mystical aura. They are both inherently dangerous and places of safety. In almost all ages, caves have had a religious significance and practically every child in the world is convinced that if dragons and other monsters really do exist then they simply must live in caves.

“Rhinolophus hipposideros” — that sounds just like one of these mythical creatures. In fact it is the Latin name for the “lesser horseshoe bat,” the most common type of bat here in the Geopark Karawanken. In summer at least, it feeds on nocturnal insects. In late autumn, before the first snowflakes fall, they wrap themselves up in their wings to hang upside down in their cool damp winter quarters and sleep until March or April.

Caves are an isolated habitat with their own climates and seasons. In habitats like this, nature spawns some very unusual creatures. Here in the Obir dripstone caves , apart from the bats, this means a type of blind ground beetle that is found exclusively here. Over thousands of years, it has successfully adapted to its hostile environment and as a result has completely lost its vision as this is no longer needed. Instead, the beetle has highly-developed feelers which it uses to find its way around.

The beetle’s Latin name by the way is Orotrechus carinthiacus. Sounds as if it comes straight out of a story.

Geopark Karawanken/Karavanke– an amazing cross-border discovery

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