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21 Animals That Call Mammoth Cave National Park Home

Discover the unique animals that call Mammoth Cave National Park home; let’s dive in to learn more!

1. Kentucky Cave Shrimp

Image by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

This unique shrimp species is endemic to the caves of Kentucky, including Mammoth Cave. It is nearly blind and has adapted to the cave environment over time.

2. Indiana Bat

Image by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

A federally endangered species, the Indiana bat roosts in caves during the winter, including those found in Mammoth Cave National Park.

3. Northern Long-eared Bat

Image by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Another bat species found in the park, the northern long-eared bat also relies on caves for roosting and hibernation.

4. Eastern Pipistrelle

Image by USFWS, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

This small bat species can be found foraging around the entrances of caves within the park.

5. Cave Salamander

Cave Salamander. Image via depositphotos.

True to its name, the cave salamander inhabits the dark, damp environments of caves, including those in Mammoth Cave National Park.

6. Northern Slimy Salamander

Image by Riley Stanton, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This species of slimy salamander can be found in the forested areas surrounding the caves of the park.

7. Eastern Red-backed Salamander

Full body closeup on an adult North American eastern red backed salamander, Plethodon cinereus on green moss. Image via depositphotos.

Another salamander species found in the park, the eastern red-backed salamander inhabits the leaf litter and rocky areas near cave entrances.

8. Cave Crayfish

Image by Katherine E. Dooley, K. Denise Kendall Niemiller, Nathaniel Sturm, Matthew L. Niemiller, CC BY 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Several species of crayfish inhabit the underground rivers and streams within the cave systems of Mammoth Cave National Park.

9. Northern Cavefish

Image by National Park Service Digital Image Archives, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

This eyeless fish species is specifically adapted to the dark cave environment and can be found in the underground waters of the park.

10. Green Salamander

Close up of green salamander (Aneides aeneus) on mossy rockface with sun in background. Image via depositphotos.

While not strictly confined to caves, the green salamander can occasionally be found in rocky crevices and cave entrances within the park.

11. Northern Spring Peeper

Image by USGS, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

This small tree frog species can be heard calling from the forested areas surrounding the caves during the spring breeding season.

12. Eastern Box Turtle

Eastern box turtle. Image by Jarek Tuszyński, CC BY 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

While not exclusive to caves, eastern box turtles can sometimes be found foraging in the leaf litter near cave entrances.

13. Black Rat Snake

Rat Snake Bites
Black Rat Snake Close Up. Image via depositphotos.

These non-venomous snakes are commonly found in the woodlands surrounding Mammoth Cave National Park and occasionally enter caves in search of prey.

14. Eastern Garter Snake

Eastern Garter Snake
Eastern garter snakes eats pests such as slugs. Image via depositphotos.

Another common snake species in the park, the eastern garter snake can be found near streams and wetland areas within the park.

15. Eastern Fence Lizard

Image by Fredlyfish4, CC BY-SA 3.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This lizard species is often seen basking on rocks and tree trunks in the forested areas surrounding the caves.

16. Eastern Boxelder Bug

Image by Katja Schulz from Washington, D. C., USA, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

While not a cave-dweller, these insects are commonly found in the forests surrounding the caves of Mammoth Cave National Park.

17. Eastern Red-spotted Newt

Closeup on a colorful but poisonous red eft of the Eastern or Broken-Striped Newt, Notophthalmus viridescens on moss. Image via depsoitphotos.

This amphibian species can be found in the moist woodlands surrounding the caves, particularly near streams and seeps.

18. Eastern Mole

Bert Cash from Brunswick , USA, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

While primarily terrestrial, eastern moles can occasionally be found near cave entrances where the soil is loose and suitable for burrowing.

19. Northern Short-tailed Shrew

Grande musaraigne — Northern Short-tailed Shrew. Gilles Gonthier from Canada, CC BY 2.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

These small insect-eating mammals are often found in the leaf litter and soil near cave entrances.

20. American Toad

American toad
American toad (Anaxyrus americanus) basking on a rock. Image by Christina Brinza via Unsplash

Commonly found in the forests and meadows surrounding the caves, American toads may occasionally venture into cave entrances during periods of high humidity.

21. American Black Bear

Young Black Bear Stands In Grassy Field in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Image by kvddesign on depositphotos.

The largest mammal in the park, black bears are primarily forest-dwelling but may travel near cave entrances in search of food, particularly during the spring and summer months.

Conclusion

Mammoth Cave National Park. Image via depositphotos.

These are just a few examples of the diverse array of wildlife that call Mammoth Cave National Park home. To read more like this, check out the articles below:

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