Huge gomantong caves full of rats, bats and cockroaches – but tourists still visit them

The Gomantong Caves in Malaysian Borneo are home to a wide variety of alarming, nightmare-inducing animals, from crawling centipedes and rats to large spiders and cockroaches

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Gomantong Caves: Researcher Discusses Fauna in Documentary

The Gomantong Caves in Malaysian Borneo are not for the faint of heart.

There are two cave complexes; Simud Hitam or the Black Cave which rises up to 90 meters and Simud Putih or the White Cave.

Those with a high threshold for claustrophobic and dark places infested with creepy crawlies can detour from a popular boat ride along the Kinabatangan River to the entrance of the Black Cave.

As soon as you step inside, you will be amazed at how big and beautiful the cave system is and how awful it smells.

The source of the rancid smell is guano, or bat droppings, which have accumulated over the centuries and now sit in a huge heap on the cave floor.

The magnificent dung heap is the work of about two million bats that sleep there during the day and thousands of swifts that sleep at night.

The cave is known for its huge bat population


(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Perhaps the most unpleasant feature of the cave, surprisingly, isn’t the massive amount of excrement, but what’s crawling around on the floor.

The cave is teeming with cockroaches.

They crunch underfoot for anyone brave enough to enter, crawl through the bat and bird droppings, and occasionally fall off the high walls onto visitors’ heads.

If you happen to have grown up in a 1970s London flat and are therefore oddly comfortable with the presence of cockroaches, then the cave probably has something else that makes your stomach turn.

Huge, long-legged centipedes roam freely across the walls and floor, their huge bodies stretching the length of a man’s hand.

The cave has very healthy insect, rat and snake populations


(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Not only are their alien bodies enough to scurry into your dreams for months after your visit, they can also have a venomous and disgusting bite.

You must compete for floor space with fat, dark-dwelling rats struggling to survive amidst a fearsome snake population.

Giant cave crickets and giant spiders also live happily side by side.

While the caves’ adult bat population has little to fear from their neighbors, their young often fall from their nests onto the ground below, only to be eaten by the roaches.

The cave is full of bats


(Getty Images)

It is the unfortunate task of a small group of brave people to spend a large part of their lives in the cave.

The swiftlets’ beautifully crafted nests are considered such a delicacy that poachers go to great lengths to steal them, including climbing the walls of the burrows in the dark of night.

To deter them and keep the bird population booming, a 24-hour vigil is kept deep in the bowels of the cave.

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Fry Electronics Team

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