Do Dragons Live in Caves?

Many species of bats live in countless caves around the world, but what about larger flying creatures, the ones long thought extinct according to generations of Western traditions? What about ropens, called by some persons dragons?

Destination Truth “Demon Flyer” Episode

The 2007 airing of the ropen episode of Destination Truth came from their expedition in Papua New Guinea earlier that year, in particular at Salamaua. After much searching, the team found a jungle cave, which Josh Gates entered. Human remains he found in that cave, but no ropen, fortunately. So what’s the point here? Natives have traditions that those large nocturnal flying creatures live in caves, and Mr. Gates was following up on a clue from what people have said, a common technique in cryptozoology.

Before moving on, we need to note that reports from different areas of the planet suggest that at least some of these flying creatures have intrinsic bioluminescence. This glowing, as they fly at night, may be the source of ancient legends of fire-breathing dragons.

Destination Truth Ropen episode

Josh Gates in a jungle cave in Papua New Guinea

Other Resources for Dragons, or Ropens, Living in Caves

On page 22 of the book Searching for Ropens and Finding God, we read:

Another man, also interviewed by [Jim] Blume, examined a magazine-cover illustration of a pterosaur and said that he had seen those creatures himself. He estimated their size, perhaps wingspan or length, at six to seven feet, “bigger than a man.” They eat fish “out of the water” and live in caves; but according to Paul Nation, when the islanders say “cave” they mean something overhanging, like a cliff. Paul [Nation] found little evidence, on Umboi Island [Papua New Guinea], for what Westerners consider caves.

On page 95 of that nonfiction live-pterosaur book, we read:

Stopping to refuel at Kampalap, they learned that villagers occasionally see the ropen as it leaves a cave, most recently three weeks earlier. The local man said, “Taim em kam aut . . . save . . . taim em go bek, em no gat.” They know when it leaves the cave but not when it returns.

All of the above can lead someone to think of ropens as cave-dwelling creatures in Papua New Guinea. But what about similar flying creatures in other parts of the world? Might they also live in caves? Consider the following from Searching for Ropens and Finding God (page 228):

“I live in Lamero, Kentucky. Its a small, rural area . . . I have a friend who lives near Renfro Valley . . . Its a wooded area as well, with . . . several caves. And I’m talking a lot of caves, lol. This county is seriously like swiss cheese . . . Last July, I was visiting my friend at his home. It was just a little after sunset, so it was still daylight . . . We were outside . . . My friend shouted . . . ‘what in the blue h*** is that?’ Approaching us from the east . . . were two very large animals. They were really moving on. . . . every characteristic of a pterodactyl, from head to tail. I’d say they were roughly 15+ feet long. . . .”

That remark from an eyewitness in Kentucky may appear like it only weakly ties a living pterosaur to caves, but we have more. In the fall of 2014, two eyewitnesses observed flying lights, resembling the flying “ropen” lights of Papua New Guinea, flying into and out of a cave in Oregon. Well, maybe those were strange but not modern pterosaurs, right? Many strange lights can fly around this big world of ours . . . but there’s more.

Those lights flying into and out of caves in Oregon also flew over a nearby river at night, and they appeared similar to lights that have been seen flying over the Yakima River in Washington state. How does that relate to live pterodactyls? It’s in a particular tree on the bank of the Yakima River. Eyewitnesses have seen and described how a light flew up out of that tree one night, and that’s the same tree in which another eyewitness, in daylight, has twice, on two different mornings, observed a “pterodactyl.”

This really does sound strange, doesn’t it? So why do we not read a newspaper headline about a college professor who has taught biology and who has gone out to the Yakima River and confirmed those strange flying lights are indeed real? Well, one of those eyewitnesses who saw a light flying out of the “pterodactyl” tree is Peter Beach, of the Portland, Oregon, area, and he has taught biology at a college. Why that has not yet made newspapers headlines, however, is another story.


cave entrance with river in Belize

Cave-tubing, a human recreation through a cave in Belize


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About Jonathan Whitcomb

American cryptozoologist who interviews eyewitnesses from various parts of the world
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