Carretera, Tihosuco - Dziuche s/n, 77880 Kantemó, Q.R.
All year daily 17.
Kantemó plus package: Adults MXP 1,770.
Experinca Kantemó: Adults MXP 750.
Mexicans -15%, Quintarooans -20%.
|Guided tours:||D=4 h, Min=6, Max=8. V=300/a |
Arturo Bayona (2013):
La Cueva de las Serpientes Colgantes: Un Descubrimiento Extraordinario,
Editorial Académica Española (January 25, 2013), paperback, 144 pages, ISBN-10: 9783847351689, ISBN-13: 978-3847351689.
|Address:||Cueva de las Serpientes Colgantes, Carretera, Tihosuco - Dziuche s/n, 77880 Kantemó, Q.R., Tel: +52-997-977-4920.|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|14-OCT-2003||cave discovered by Arturo Bayona Miramontes and three friends.|
The Cueva de las Serpientes Colgantes (Cave of the Hanging Snakes) is famous for its population of snakes which live in the ceiling and high up on the walls of the cave. From their cracks and crevices they wait until bats enter or leave the cavern in a swarm, then they dangle down and catch the flying bats in their mouths. This specialization is quite rare and works only in caves with a very high population of bats. The cave is actually known as the Bat Cave by the locals of the nearby village of Kantemó. It is home to six different bat species, Bigotudo de parnell (Pteronotus parnelli), Lomo pelón menor (Pteronotus davyi), Bigotudo (Pteronotus personatus), Barba arrugada norteno (Marmoops megalophylla), Mexicano oreja de embudo (Natalus stamineus), and Frutero (Artibeus jamaicensis). Some are insectivorous and others are frugivorous, and they all leave the cave every day at sunset in search of food. For about an hour and a half around 100 bats per second leave the cave, in total about half a million animals.
The cave is home to the Culebra ratonera de Kantemó (Elaphe flavirufa, Yellow-Red Rat Snake), a small forest snake which normally hunts rodents, lizards, and other small animals on the ground. The not venomous snakes are very common in the forests of the Yucatan peninsula. The constrictors have virtually no eyesight and hunt using their other senses, so they are actually well adapted to the dark cave. Nevertheless, this is the only cave in the area where this phenomenon occurs. It was discovered by the biologist Arturo Bayona Miramontes twenty years ago. The phenomenon has attracted the attention of numerous experts since. Similar bat hunting snakes are know from caves in southeast Asia.
The cave is actually full of troglobiont life. There are numerous insects, blind fish, eels and insects like woodlice, white lady, the aquatic mealybug, and the blind shrimp. They actually depend on the bats to survive, as the dead bats and the bat guano are the base of their food supply. The limestone walls are full of fossils including corals, snails and other shells.
The cave is not developed, and visits are actually cave trekking tours, organized by an initiative of the Mayan locals called Beej Ka'ax Ha. They dubbed their tours ecotourismo and offer other adventure tourism services like canoeing and bird watching. The small Mayan community Kantemó has 310 inhabitants, 52 people, 32 men and 20 women, are organized as a cooperative and offer guided tours of the cave. They offer packages which may include guides, mountain bike rides, food and overnight stay in the local hotel or on the campground. It's a three-kilometer walk through the rainforest, so the mountain bike are probably a good idea.
Good walking shoes, helmet with headlamp, and gloves are strongly recommended. As this is a tropical bat cave you should definitely be careful and wear a mask, to avoid histoplasmosis or other diseases. The snakes hanging above your head are quite scary, but actually not dangerous and not venomous. They are specialized on the bats, and seem not impressed by the increasing number of visitors who come to the cave to observe their strange behavior. The tours are organized after appointment, and you should contact the cooperative on their phone number. The cave itself is hard to find and on private property, visitors meet with the guides at the basket ball field in the center of the village Kantemo.
The cave gor some international fame when the photograph titled Cazador de Murciélagos (Bat Hunter) by the Yucatán photographer Fernando Constantino Martínez won a prize in London. It shows a snake right after it snatched a bat from the air. The contest was organized by the Natural History Museum of London, and about 93 photographers from around the world participated. The picture of the amphibian and reptile category won the author the first place as Wildlife Photographer 2022.