Missouri Cave Advisory

Please help us protect Missouri’s bats: 

White-nose syndrome, a fungus that is fatal to bats but does not affect humans, is found throughout the eastern United States and Canada.  The name describes a fuzzy white fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, which typically appears on the faces and wings of infected bats. This serious wildlife issue was first detected in Missouri in 2010, and bats with the disease were discovered in several Missouri caves by 2014. 

How You Can Help:

There are precautions you can take to minimize the potential spreading of white-nose syndrome in Missouri. 

For visitors to Onondaga Cave, Cathedral Cave, Fisher Cave, and Ozark Caverns:

  • To minimize the potential spreading of white-nose syndrome, screening measures are in place for touring Onondaga Cave, Cathedral Cave, Fisher Cave, and Ozark Caverns. 
  • Please do not wear the same clothing, footwear, accessories or equipment that has been in any other cave and follow these same guidelines when visiting other caves.  If you want to help us protect bats, remember that twice is too much when it comes to what you bring into a cave!

Missouri State Park Wild Caves

  • Most, but not all, wild caves in state parks that are used by bats will remain temporarily closed to reduce the risk of spreading white-nose syndrome.
  • Specific exceptions will be made for educational tours and low-risk groups in specific caves.  In many cases, special research permits are required, and permit holders must comply with the current decontamination procedure, in order to remove and kill Pseudogymnoascus destructans spores. 

Missouri State Parks wild caves, which are not used by bats, may still be open for visitation.  It is important to check with park staff before entering any cave to be sure you are not entering one that is important to the survival of bats.

Resources

WHITE-NOSE SYNDROME.org
White-Nose Syndrome in Missouri, Missouri Department of Conservation.
White Nose Syndrome Page, National Speleological Society
White-Nose Syndrome (WNS), National Wildlife Health Center
White-nose Syndrome, Bat Conservation International