Bat guano has been sculpting caves in Brazil for thousands of years

An iron ore cave in Carajás National Forest, Brazil, formerly inhabited by bats

Ataliba Coelho

Iron ore caves where bats roost in Brazil have become much larger than caves without bats – due to the weathering effect of thousands of years of guano.

The iron-rich earth beneath the Carajás National Forest in the Brazilian Amazon hosts more than 1500 caves, only 10 of which currently house bats or used to.

Most other cave-dwellers – such as bacteria, fungi and invertebrates like beetles and scorpions – don’t leave their underground haunts. But bats …

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