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Tell us your flora and fauna tales for a chance to win a ?100+ Exped Bag!!


Staff member


These bags are blummin brilliant, ideal for expeditions (which hopefully we be happening again one day)
Prize donation by UKCAVING.COM  ;)

Look what set up home in one of our digging buckets - wasps!  :eek:


... and what a fine home they made too.
We left well alone and eventually they moved house.

Gave me the idea for a quick competition - post on this thread telling us any caving/mining related tale abouts animals and plants.

The more unusual the better and photos are always good too.

3 entries max per person.  Closing date Sunday 29th August at 10pm.

Shortlist to be chosen by me then it's over to Random.org.

Good luck!!


Active member
I remember about a week before Christmas some time ago we went down Little Neath River cave. The tight wet entrance crawl is always fun in its' own way, and it is always a relief to drop down into bigger passage at the end. Imagine my surprise when I reached that drop, to find a large, hale and healthy, full grown goose stood on a ledge just above the water! Can only imagine the poor thing had been washed in by earlier flood water, quite obviously from the farm just up stream. Anyway, we continued our trip to the lower reaches of the cave and on our return I took on the task of rescuing our feathered friend. Now the streamway, in reverse, is always more of a challenge, and manhandling a full grown goose in front of you didn't make it any easier! However, eventually daylight was reached and it was decided to return our friend to his mates back at the farm. Being a week before Christmas I had mixed feelings about doing this and, even today some 30 years hence, I can't help wondering if the goose knew exactly what he was doing and cursed us for taking him from his hiding place and returning him to a certain fate!
Over the last few years we have been working down Son Doong cave and have managed to find 7 new species including white fish, white spider, white cricket, white woodlice etc. We have also helped scientists discover 6 very rare plants within the cave all in the endangered book. On one day we saw a white mouse running around deep in the cave about 3km in. There are no records of white mouse in this area of Vietnam so it could possibly be a new species. As we were planning on working with the BBC on animals in the cave they were very excited about this possible new discovery. On a normal tourist trip in the cave i asked a good friend of mine who is an excellent jungle man to see if he could capture this elusive white mouse alive. Alas my Vietnamese is not very good and next morning when i awoke in the cave i was presented with this pretty but dead mouse at the entrance to my tent. Since then we have not seen another white mouse and we have searched the area very well. The part of cave where it was discovered i have now named it extinction passage.


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Golconda Mine 1985. Always wondered what this could be growing all alone in the dark!


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In Thailand many years ago we went from Cave Lodge to visit Tham Plah is search of the blind fish. And yes we saw them but no photographs I'm afraid. But it is a good job Philip Klepto Smythe was not afraid!

(I make no excuse for the poor headgear - at least I had a cushion on my head)


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From the pages of "Matienzo Caves Project: 2010-2019":

Ascending 117m with a venomous reptile, by Chris Scaife

On the 3rd of August 2013, my first ever trip to Matienzo was drawing to a close. For our last exploratory caving trip of the summer, Dan Jackson, Alex Ritchie and I went down Torca de Yusa, high up on the Hoya de Yusa, to look at a couple of possible leads up a steep slope.

We abseiled down the spectacular 117m entrance pitch, via several hanging re-belays and past an Alpine chough nest over 50m below the surface. At the bottom, with our hands aching from the effort of pushing down the handles on our Stops for so long, we were surprised to see a living snake, a Baskian viper, which must have fallen the full 117m of the shaft and somehow lived to tell the tale. Presumably the Pool of Fetid Ming, as the base of the pitch is called, had provided a soft, if not entirely pleasant, landing.

Off we trotted, up the slope, to explore two previously undescended pitches, one of which we named Space Serpent Pitch in honour of the plucky herptile. Both leads pushed to their limits, we returned to the foot of the entrance pitch to find our legless friend exactly where we had last seen it.

I?ve always been someone who thinks you should rescue animals you find stuck in caves and I reasoned that this small thing was hardly going to bite through my wellies or oversuit, so I picked it up and put it into a tackle sack. It seemed pretty docile and just stayed coiled up as I put it in. There then followed a fairly nerve-racking prusik to the surface, as the possible folly of what I was doing started to hit me. The tackle sack swinging between my legs contained a venomous reptile, and dangling on a rope with a great distance above and below me would hardly be the ideal place to receive the second ever snakebite of my life.

Upon reaching the surface, I was relieved to note that my skin was unpenetrated, so to celebrate I opened the tackle sack. No longer docile or coiled, the viper thrust its way out into the grass and slithered off into the sunset. I sincerely hope it stayed above ground after that. For all I know it could have swallowed its own tail like the ouroboros serpent of Ancient Egypt, and jumped back down the hole, thus continuing the eternal cycle of fall and rescue.


Well-known member
This old girl had gone down the Walf climbing shaft before it was reopened, and finally made it into Hillocks when the route was dug open again


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Well-known member
A small well decorated mine trial in the Peak houses millions of mosquitoes that rest on the walls for quite a distance beyond daylight. The rocks appear furry and rounded off due to the coating of insects. Caving lamps and explorers cause lots of them to fly up into your face. Lovely. There is also a healthy collection of cave spiders living in the crevices but they don't seem to keep the numbers down very much...


Well-known member
There was a topic on here recently which mentioned the surprising lack of tissue moth sightings this year. I just happened to be passing Greater Kelco Cave this morning, which is a place they're often seen. So I nipped in and, as usual, there's plenty of 'em (see picture of one example).

It's also a good place to look for cave spiders - note this big boy in the other photo.


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I'm going to cheat and recycle my trip report from here: https://ukcaving.com/board/index.php?topic=28245

For those who didn't read it at the time, or can't be bothered to now, the long and short of the tale for this thread is that we spotted a fairly large (6-8") white trout in Otter Hole, just at the downstream end of Sump 5. It had taken us about 3 hours to reach that point, so I was very surprised to meet a fish!

The others in the group did relentlessly mock me for it, but I maintain that the fish was the highlight of a 10.5 hour trip.  :)


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New member
On a trip to Noxon Park in the Forest of Dean we encountered a large eel in the Crater entrance. It was swimming in the water that flooded the level and above and must have been 100ft below the surface. The eel itself must have been a good 2ft long. It's difficult to imagine where it came from as there are only very small streams in the area although Noxon farm a mile away does have a fishing lake.


Well-known member
This has been mentioned elsewhere before but seems to belong in this topic.

A few years ago I was laying line along a new passage in an underwater cave near Kendal. I suddenly met a large depigmented crayfish waving its substantial claws murderously at me, as if to say "You shall not pass!". The passage wasn't that big, so I couldn't scoot round it. We stared at each other for a while but it stood its ground and, eventually, it was me that backed off. Fortunately it wasn't there on the next visit, so the line laying continued unhindered.

cap n chris

Well-known member
Creepycrawlies! This was from one of the visits to La Palma some years back; they're quite common. IIRC it's scutigera coleoptrata or summat'ish...


El Agreb

An idea as to what to call the hole if it develops.


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Active member
Pitlamp said:
It's also a good place to look for cave spiders - note this big boy in the other photo.

That's a female, I'm sure she'd be very offended by your assertion. She's guarding her egg sac here (seperated from the wall by the silk, to prevent mould!)


I have a funny caving story,

I call this trip: Sunset Hangover with no Headtorch! ( My brain was the Vegetable matter)

In 2014 I was an active member of the Wirral caving group, along with other members such as Dave Tyson the president of the club, who has worked with Organisations such as the CCC,

Well the day before taking a trip to Sunset Hole, it was my birthday, That being Said as you can imagine Excessive amounts of alcohol was drank, having been celebrating my birthday with friends at a local Wirral pub,

When I got home that night I started to pack my kit for the coming Trip to sunset hole the next day, I was so drunk that I hadn't even noticed at this point I had not packed my helmet, which had my headtorch attached, but everything else I needed was packed, so I decided to camp behind my front door so that I didn't miss Dave Tyson knocking on the door to go on the trip,

Dave Tyson the next Day knocked loud and woke me up, I grabbed my kit bag and got in the car, and I remember thinking in the back of the car how much I had a hangover from the night before, and I hadn't eaten either,

The plan was to get to navigate the boulder ruckle semi helix twisting section to access lower series in sunset hole, which I had never been to,

so as we arrive in Chapel-le-Dale, park the car and start to don our kit, I had just got changed, this was the usual routine we all know, Undersuit on, then the oversuit, Then the wellies, The harness, then chest rig, then D-mallion and all your SRT gear,
I then pull out of my bag my hand-held torches, my headtorch battery, at this moment I notice there is no helmet in the bag  :eek:  I exclaimed quite loud, F*** SAKE!! 

Dave Tyson Replies whats the problem, to which I told him forgot my helmet with my headtorch attached whilst holding the battery for it in my hand, Luckily he had a spare helmet in the car, but it had no headtorch,

so with there being at least 5 of us on this trip, we decided that we would be fine to continue if I stayed in between those with head torches, and use my hand torches,

so we abseil down the entrance and then navigate through the cave to the bottom of the big pitch, a natural vertical shaft, that leads down to where there is a rope ladder going up to where you begin to access the lower Series,
Going up the ladder was no problem, crawling past the columns to get to the lower series was not an issue,

So after we'd reached the lower series we turned around and ascended back up to the upper series, and as I get to the rope ladder and if you've ever been there getting onto this ladder to get back into the natural chamber shaft is quite dodgy, and although you have a scaff bar to hold onto, the rope ladder sways away from you with your feet on it,
With no headtorch, you can't see it while your feet are on it, with the direction it sways, so as members of the club are ascending the main Pitch, I was stuck on this ladder frozen with fear because I knew if I fell it wasn't going to be cushioned there was a scree slope leading back into the main chamber under the ladder,

At this point in time, all I can think about is, if I fall or let go I'm gonna get hurt quite badly, and I needed a change of underwear, :confused: I felt like the air in my lungs had frozen with fear of possible outcomes, it took me about 10 minutes before I had the air in my lungs to scream, for help,

At that moment Dave Tyson turns and looks and in doing so Literally Shines a light on the situation, from his beaming headtorch, I could see the ladder, then I had to compose myself and get down safely, which took a further few minutes to do, my grip on that scaff bar was so tight I had to almost pry my own hand from it, which spiders were crawling over my hands, and I am terrified of spiders, it was the first time in my life that i didn't care about those spiders, i had to get onto the ladder,

once I exited the cave one of the members that had earlier Begun to Ascend had heard me scream from close to the entrance, this is something we had a good laugh about on the way home, I learned a very valuable lesson about caving with a Hangover, but still to this day It makes me laugh, I have never forgotten my Headtorch since  ;)  :beer:


Paul Marvin

There are some very unusual little critters in here , if you dont want to watch the whole video although I think you will enjoy skip to 4:20 and also 5:54 , from what research I have done they shouldn't be here at all never mind under the water .

BTW it took us years to complete this waiting for perfect crystal clear water as its a popular training site and get very murky we had a LOT of dives when we didn't bother filming or doing stills .  :(

Any info on these would be appreciated guys  (y)



2018 Exploring a new Cave in Vietnam - Hang La Xanh (Blue Leaf Cave)
A walk-in entrance which has the foliage shaking by the wind coming through it. This led to a large Chamber which had a plastic water pipe heading down a side passage on the right, this I went down it was 12ft wide & 8ft high & I was following the draught, the passage increased as it went downwards. The pipe headed up & I thought it was going to close down as I carried on only for it to open up with various ways on over & under large boulders, this eventually turned into a choke I squeezed through a couple of ways to find one of the smaller boulders loose, this dropped down a rift (I?d say about 30ft by the noise of it falling. At this point I thought time to leave as I was on my own. I took the right hand wall & joined some of the local men in another passage, I kept on the right & it opened up again to more boulders & some nice formations. I followed a local down the easy the left hand side as this avoided the very deep holes between the boulders. The passage now increased to around 30ft wide & 45ft high but still going as a canyon. The local started climbing up over boulders into a right hand passage, re-joining the draught. At the top the passage was completely covered in popcorn & the local was just jumping from piece to piece of covered rock. I was taking it easy as it was really sharp. The floor was turning back into smooth calcite flow & this continued until it got big again, well massive & then a skylight entrance. This is pretty with all the foliage facing the light. We headed round to the left into a massive chamber, full of steam so it was hard to see but with a great echo. We then went down lower passage on the right up some more flow this led to another entrance. This again had foliage but when you shone your light on it it changed colour from standard green to bright blue, this was amazing & why we named the cave.


Paul Marvin

Here's an interesting little chap , found as happy as Larry at the very bottom level next to the ladder of Long Rake Mine, I couldn't think of a more toxic environment for him  :yucky:  :-\



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