Mount Tamana with an altitude of 313 meters is the tallest mountain in the Central Range. Its geological features consist mainly of coral limestone, which shows that thousands of years ago the mountain was a reef. Located on the southern slopes of Mt Tamana is the remarkable bat cave which houses 12 species of bats and has an estimated population of 500 thousand. The Tamana Bat cave has the second largest colony in the region, the highest recorded is Bracken's Cave in San Antonio Texas.
The highlight of the exploration is to witness the bats exiting the cave at sunset. Thousands of bats leave the cave in a spiral formation to go in search of food and this spectacular phenomenon can last for several hours. The bats eat a variety of foods, and some are insectivores, frugivores (fruit eaters), nectarivorous and sanguivorous (common vampire bats).
Bats play a significant role in keeping mosquito and insect populations under control and stopping the spread of the yellow fever virus. One bat can consume up to 25% of its body weight a night or 1.3kg(3lbs) of insect per year. Fruit Bats are key contributors to forest regeneration bringing the seed of plants to pristine areas eg Balata, mango, pawpaw. Of all the species the vampire bat is the only one that can transmit rabies however 99 % of these infections perpetrated by man’s best friend dogs. Bats are among the cleanest of animals and are resistant to diseases. They spend their non-flying time grooming their bodies using their tongue and claws.
The Tamana Bat Cave has two distinct chambers. The main chamber runs parallel to the surface while the second descends vertically underground. To explore inside the cave one has to crawl through a narrow entrance located at the higher end from the sinkhole. Inside the cave, a most amazing sight is the display of thousands of frenzy bats of various sizes and species hanging in clusters on the walls and ceiling. The ground covered with thick layers of bat guano is an attraction for roaches. Although bats appear scary and vicious, on the contrary, they are harmless and will not attack anyone.
Exploring inside the cave, to see the bats in their natural environment is optional and others may prefer to stay at the top for the migration. The thoroughfare out the cave is located on the other end and requires some rock-climbing 20feet to get to the surface.
The trek to the cave will take 20 minutes, and there is the option to continue onwards to the summit of Mt Tamana where there are spectacular panoramas of the Northern and Central Range. It is recommended to bring along a change of clothing, footwear, rubber gloves, torchlight, repellent, and water to wash hands.
On Easter Saturday 20th April 2019 Island Hikers explore the Tamana Bat Cave.
Rating: 3 easy
Assembly 1.00pm at the Corner of Omeara Rd and Churchill Roosevelt Highway, Arima
Finish: 7 pm.
Hiking time to cave: 20mins uphill
Exploration of inside the cave and to the summit of Tamana is optional.
Kids allowed $30.00
For details contact Mario 749-2956, Marcia 4902421, Jamal: 761-1889 or www.islandhikers .com