Wildlife and Habitat

  • Gray Bat Myotis grisescens

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    The endangered gray bat is a summer and winter resident of the cave. The gray bat is 8-11 grams and has a 27-32 cm (11-13 in) wingspan. The average life span is 14-15 years. For this species, mating occurs in September and October; pups are born in late May or early June and are capable of flight within 20-25 days. Remarkably, 95% of these bats only hibernate in 8 caves. Past summer emergence count documented more than 300,000 - 400,000 gray bats

  • Indiana Bat Myotis sodalis

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    The Indiana bat is primarily a winter resident of Sauta Cave. The Indiana bat is 6-9 grams and has a 24-28 cm (9-11in) wingspan. This bat also has an average 14 year lifespan. Matiing occurs in mid August and early September. One baby is born June and is raised under loose tree bark primarily in wooded streamside habitat. Nearly 85% only hibernate in 9 locations.

  • Price's potato bean

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    In addition to the rare fauna within the cave, the federally threatened Price's potato bean occurs on the Refuge. 

  • Cave Habitat

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    As is the case with many large caves, rare and unique species occur in Sauta Cave. As a result, the Alabama Natural Heritage Program ranks the cave's biodiversity as a site of very high significance. Surprisingly, the cave is not a pristine one as it was used as a saltpeter mine during the Civil War, a nightclub during the 1920's, and a fallout shelter during the 1960's.