bats and snakes and guano!

March 17, 2007

After we finished our first day tour at Xyaat we were invited to checkout another tour operator in the area that has  a bike, bat cave and hanging serpent tour… So, we raced down the road to make it there in time for sunset, because everyone knows bats take off at dusk to haunt the night’s sky. I have to admit I was excited and scared about what this adventure might entail. We got to the tour headquarters and met our guide who is friends with Marcos and Santos from Xyaat. We mounted up on our mountain bikes and headed down the path to the cave. 421283307_dd8e353a69.jpgWe crossed paths with several hunters with their shotguns and dogs and about 20 minutes later we arrived at the cave at just the right time. The first bats had started to fly out of the cave. We donned our schpeluker’s head lamps and walked into the cave while hundreds of bats flew out of the cave all around our heads and bodies. The wind created by their flapping wings was thrilling as they ignored us to get out of the cave. We were a total of 9 in our group and since it was a bat cave with hanging snakes, flash photography was not allowed. In the first room of the cave we saw a pretty fat boa constrictor about 20 feet away looking for a meal. Our guide told us to turn off our head lamps, which was just crazy scary. So, there we were in the blackness with bats and snakes. We turned our lights on as quickly as possible once the guide directed us to do so. We then moved on to another area of the cave that had a small pond where we saw white blind snakes and white blind fish that appeared to be floating in mid-air because the water was so clear it was practically invisible. Then it got interesting… Our guide said that 5 of us could proceed to the crawl space height corridor where there were for sure to many more hanging serpents. The snakes coil up in small holes in the ceiling of the cave and when the bats fly by they grab them out of the air and eat them. kantemo_collage1.gifThe ceiling kept getting lower and lower the further in the cave we got and the snakes kept getting closer and closer to us as we passed by. The floor of the cave was covered in bat guano and we were all wearing sandals making the squishiness between the toes absolutely gross, but that was the least of our worries. The guide kept telling us to turn off our lights and after a few moments we would turn them back on to find that every snake had caught a bat while the lights were out. For those of you that know the TV show Fear Factor, well this adventure put that cheesy show to shame. When our guide said that we could go back to the entrance

I can’t tell you how fast we crawled out of that space with snakes inches from our heads. Looking back, I can’t believe how insane that tour was, but we all survived and had a beautiful starlit bike ride back to the base. The business side of this craziness is that it might work as an addon tour to the Xyaat tour during the day, just as we did it.  The bat cave operator has a decent business setup and already works well with the guys from Xyaat. If I can promote shark cage encounters in Hawaii, I don’t see why not bat caves with hanging serpents in the Yucatan!

Dan

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