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Questions for Thought

Teachers: You will want to discuss these "Thought Questions" with your students after their trip to Ruby Falls. Hopefully, they will encourage verbal classroom participation. The answers here are some of the possible answers, but are not the only right answers.

Why are there no animals in Ruby Falls?

There are several reasons that animal life is limited in Ruby Falls. There are no large natural entrances to the caverns; there are limited food sources and little light. 

What are some adaptations that animals may have as a result of living in a cave?

Many cave animals are blind or do not even have eyes at all, and some are depigmented (colorless) from living in total or near total darkness. Bats are a good example of a cave creature that doesn't have very good sight. They use sonar to navigate in the darkness. Many cave creatures have a greater sense of touch or smell, which helps them live in the dark. Some creatures have longer apendages (arms and legs) for moving around the cave. 

Why do you think there are no snakes in the caves at Ruby Falls?

Snakes are cold-blooded and because the cave is only about sixty degrees, it is not a suitable environment for snakes. They depend on the warmth of the sunlight and surroundings to stay warm. Also the natural opening of the cave is filled with water and any animal that is small enough to make it through the opening would have to survive the stream and waterfall. 

What makes Ruby Falls a natural resource?

A natural resource is anything from nature that humans can use and enjoy. Many people enjoy the tour and the beauty of the cave. Also, the cave may have provided shelter and safety to our ancestors. 

What do you think is the effect of humans on the caverns?

Many formations have been destroyed or stolen. Sometimes people litter or mark on the cave. The basic pH of human skin might counteract the acid (CaCO3) that helps make formations, so if people touch the formations it may disrupt the formation's growth.