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Siju Cave, Assam in 1923


Active member
Interesting article from The Times Archive (20 September1923)
(It's behind a paywall, so I'll copy it for you)

At the meeting of the British Association, Dr Stanley Kemp of Calcutta gave a description to the Zoological Section of a visit to the Siju Cave, in the Garo Hills, Assam. He said that the cave was about three-quarters of a mile in length, a stream passed through it and boulders of gneiss indicated the tremendous force of former torrents which had carried them into the cave. His party had not penetrated far when they saw thousands of moth larvae covering the rocks, and when they had proceeded 900ft they saw a monstrous frog clinging to the wall. Bats were everywhere and so was bat guano, which formed the staple food of hosts of cockroaches, beetles, molluscs, and other forms. Farther in the cavern the walls were covered with bats so thickly that one could not find a hand’s space between them. When the light of the lamps was directed on to them they did not fly, but “flopped down” on to the party and fell into the water, in which they swam well with their wings.

ln the evening the expedition took up posts outside the cave to see the bats come out, and about a quarter to 6 they emerged in an endless stream. Only five or six of the species found in the cave showed any definite adaptation to existence in the cavern, one of the most interesting being a fresh-water prawn with eyes reduced to half the normal size. The water was crystal clear and innocent of all food for the prawns. As a result, they were starving, and busily occupied eating their own kind. The party was astonished to find one prawn out of the water performing acrobatic capers on a stone, surrounded by the stream. Why it had left the water, and why the whole tribe had not sought better conditions outside the cave he could not suggest.


I've witnessed bats swimming in that region, now Meghalaya. It was quite disturbing being waist deep in water having fish bashing into my legs and with bats swimming and flying towards me and climbing up my suit. I forget the name of the cave.