Turtle Shell Cave is small but biologically interesting. Visitors must
send a scout into the cave to look for bats with a red-filtered headlamp.
Please stay out if bats are present.
Turtle Shell is sometimes visited by
weekend tour groups, but only when there are no or very few bats present.
Two entrances drop into the single main room. One is a fissure about 60
cm wide and 1.5 m long, while the other is a tight crevice 25 cm wide and
60 cm long. Both are about 6 m deep but can be crawled through. The room
is about 10 m in diameter and 0.6 to 1.5 m high. Opposite the main entrance
a circular chimney slopes steeply down for a total of about 15 m before
ending in a short crawl. The cave fauna includes two species of crickets,
the troglobitic millipede Cambala speobia, collembolans, and occasional
cave myotis bats Myotis velifer incautus. One of the bats yielded
eight parasitic streblid flies, the blind, orange "bat flies" commonly
found in roosts.
Turtle Shell dries out at times and
this greatly influences the amount of fauna seen. The cave is part of a
baseline ecology study.