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Here there be Dragons!


While dragons tales are popular in European folklore, they're especially common in Slovenia.   There was great excitement several centuries ago when Olms were discovered and were (incorrectly) interpreted as being baby dragons.

P1150226(These caves are home to Olms)

An olm (Proteus Anguinus) is a rare blind white salamander which lives within certain caves in Slovenia.  They are snake-like in shape but have short limbs and external gills.  Olms live in in deep underground lakes and pools, essentially in a lightless environment, and are blind although their sense of smell and touch are greatly enhanced.  They live an entirely aquatic existence, including sleeping and reproducing in the cold water of the caves.

P1150227(Model of an Olm)

P1150228(my photo of a living Olm in a darkened display tank within a cave)

One of the only places you can see these rare creatures is the Postojna Cave system, which is also home to other rare cave inhabitants such as blind cave beetles and spiders.  There is a special exhibit at Postojna which features olms, where these photos were taken.  Lighting is very low and flash is not allowed, so it was difficult to get good photos.  But I thought these creatures were unusual enough to share with all of you.



The Olm also is a useful marketing tool.  This one in front of a gift shop in Postojna peddles the usual travel-related junk you can buy.



Images (7)
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Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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