Mountain Ranch, CA – Walking into the visitor’s center at California Cavern, State Historic Landmark, you are greeted by a prehistoric cave bear skeleton, minerals of many shapes and sizes, friendly employees and a sign that reads, “ Do not lick the walls”.
“We don’t like cave wall licking.” said Derek Pierce, manager of California Cavern, located southeast of Sacramento, California. “California Cavern is known for it’s amazing formations, an underground lake and rich gold rush history dating back to the early 1800s, but cave wall licking has no part of it.” Pierce said firmly.
California Cavern has seen a steep rise in cave wall licking this past year. Visitors access the cavern by purchasing tickets for the guided cave walk tour, or either of the two spelunking trips, the Mammoth Cave Expedition and the Middle Earth Expedition. Then some visitors lick the walls. According to Pierce, cave wall licking became popular in the 1960s. “I’m not sure why people started licking the walls of the cavern. It’s not like licking a toad’s back.” said Pierce.
California Cavern posted the signs in a effort educate the public about the hazards of wall licking. “It damages the cavern and can lead to serious tongue injury,” explained Pierce. It is also an offense punishable by jail time and a hefty fine. No arrests have been made, but California Cavern is taking the threat seriously and will press charges to those who lick the walls. “It’s a disgusting habit and it’s unsanitary,” said Pierce.
California Cavern is owned and operated by Cave & Mine Adventures that has educated the public about caves for the past 39 years. Cave & Mine Adventures has two other locations in California’s Gold Country, Moaning Cavern Adventure Park and Black Chasm Cavern, National Natural Landmark. More information about cave tours and underground activities can be found at CavernTours.com and this story is total nonsense – Happy April Fools’ Day.