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Tydixon Ratbat Cave

June 25, 2011

District: Worthy Park

Parish: St Catherine

WGS84 L/L: By request only

JAD2001: By request only

JAD69: By request only

Altitude: 435m WGS84

Accuracy: +/- 5m horizontal; +/- 10m vertical


Type: Chamber

Accessibility: Scramble/vertigear

Depth: 53m

Length: 225m

Explorers: GSD - 1960

Survey: BRG McGrath/P>

JU Ref: pg 362

JU Map: pg 361

Entrance size: 13m W, 10m H

Entrance aspect: 225

Vegetation in general locale: Forest/sugar cane

Vegetation at entrance: Forest

Geology: White limestone

Bedding: Poor

Jointing: Poor

Speleothems: Stals

Palaeo resources: None seen

Archaeo resources: None seen

Hydrology: Dry

Dark zone: >90%.

Climate: 25 deg C, humid.

Bats: <1,000

Bat guano: Much

Guano mining: Occasional

Guano condition: Compact, fresh/fluff

Visitation: Occasional

Speleothem damage: None

Graffiti: Some

Trash: Some (guano bags)

Ownership: Government(?)

Protection: None

Vulnerability: High

Tydixon Ratbat Cave
June 25, 2011
Team: RS Stewart, JL Pauel, G Clarke, G Worton, P Worton
Video: Tydixon Ratbat Cave WMV (60 MB WMV)
Notes: RS Stewart
More notes for Tydixon Ratbat Cave - March 6, 2010

Tydixon Ratbat Cave was visited on June 25, 2011, for monitoring, and to familiarize the owners of Worthy Park with the site. This was the second time the JCO had entered the cave, the first having been on March 6, 2010; one other visit took place on January 29, 2011, to accurately GPS-record the approach track. The team for the day was Jan and I, and Gordon Clarke, Gregory Worton, and his son, Peter Worton.

Unlike the March visit in 2010, the mosquitoes were incredibly fierce this day due to frequent rain over the preceding six weeks. Our party was trailed through the bush by vast clouds of them, with this particular species large, and very hungry. In fact, they were not left behind until we were well inside the entrance, this happening as we moved into the swarms of fungus gnats that reside in the cave. These do not bite, but instead crawl into eyes, ears, noses, and are easily inhaled, which causes bouts of severe coughing. However, we were prepared with masks that we donned as soon as the numbers rose, which we hadn't brought during the previous visit.

The cave consists of one, large chamber, with a high hill of breakdown boulders in the centre, all covered with thick deposits of guano. Travel over this hill is rather difficult, but a fairly decent route can be found on the left side.

Surprisingly, bat numbers in the cave seemed low considering how much guano is present. We do not know if numbers change seasonally, or whether the deposits have simply accumulated over a long period of time. Guano mining is probably limited by the difficulty in accessing the site (a 30 minute hike on the route we take), and the difficulty in travelling though the cave. That said, mining has definitely taken place as evidenced by guano bags (originally feedbags) found in the first half of the chamber.

As during the first visit, we turned around before the final guano slope, but were only about 15m from the far point of the cave.

Our return hike was plagued with as many mosquitoes as on the way in, and between the five of us, we must have donated several pints of blood to the local hordes. On that, it must be noted that Gordon, Gregory, and Peter were all champions, and stoically put up with not only the pests, but the difficult conditions travelling through the cave itself. This was probably the toughest site they've done with us so far.

Biologically, the site has many invertebrates living on the guano, and has good potential for work in this field.

Archaeologically, no pictograms or petroglyphs have been seen in the entrance area during our visits despite there being suitable wall surfaces. They are present not that far away, under overhangs on the west side of Lluidas Vale, so it is bit of a mystery why they're not here.

Palaeontologically, there are good breccia deposits on the cliff to the southwest of the entrance. A cursory inspection revealed no obvious fossils, but there seems to be potential for such.

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