Turtle Shell Cave

Click on Map below for a larger image

  • Surveyed Length: 70.4 m
  • Depth: 21.3 m


Turtle Shell Cave is small but biologically interesting.  Visitors to Colorado Bend State Park who wish to enter this cave 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, which greatly influences the amount of fauna seen.  The cave is part of an on-going baseline ecology study.

Revised 7/2014; original page author: William R. Elliott. All rights reserved.