Into the Wild

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From Xplor: July/August 2020

Did You Know?

With more than 7,500 caves, Missouri is known as the “Cave State.” Most caves are located in the Ozarks, but a few are found as far north as Hannibal.


 If you visit a cave in the summer, the air inside will feel cool. If you visit in the winter, it will feel warm. That’s because the inside of a cave stays at the same temperature — about 56 degrees — nearly all of the time. Long-tailed salamander


Several kinds of salamanders slip around in the twilight zone, the entrance to a cave that gets a little sunlight


Many bats spend winter in caves, and some rest in caves during the summer. If you look closely, you might find a few of these furry, flying insect munchers.


Drip. Drop. Drip. Drop. Over thousands of years, water trickling through limestone creates passageways and rock formations such as stalactites and stalagmites.

Heads Up !

Caves are dangerous places to explore on your own. Never, ever go into a cave without an adult.

Did You Know?

Ozark cavefish live in Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma — and nowhere else in the world. The 2-inch long, ghostly white fish swim in total darkness, so eyes aren’t helpful. Instead, cavefish find food by sensing movements in the water.

Where to Go

Some caves are closed to the public to protect rare and unique wildlife that lives inside them. The caves listed below are usually open for exploring. But beware: Due to COVID-19, they may be closed. Check before you go.

  • Onondaga Cave and Cathedral Cave at Onondaga Cave State Park
  • Fisher Cave at Meramec State Park
  • Ozark Caverns at Lake of the Ozarks State Park
  • Round Spring Cave

Also In This Issue

American Bumblebee
Plants and animals team up to keep nature abounding with blooms.
Black-Necked Stilt
Learn to spot these summer visitors when you’re at the lake or on a float trip.

This Issue's Staff

Bonnie Chasteen
Les Fortenberry
Angie Daly Morfeld
Noppadol Paothong
Marci Porter
Mark Raithel
Laura Scheuler
Matt Seek
David Stonner
Stephanie Thurber
Cliff White