Spelunking: Cave Ticks

on September 27, 2008 in Activity

The second time that Melrose Troop 68 spent a weekend at Eagle Caves in southern Wisconsin, we had a crew of seventeen Boy Scouts and six adults. This time we “camped” at one of the higher levels toward the back of the cave, instead of near the entrance like we did four years earlier.

The Boy Scouts were off exploring the cave Saturday morning, leaving the adults in their “site” with nothing to do for a moment. Someone made a comment that we should pull a prank on the Scouts. A few ideas were tossed around and we finally decided that we would tell the boys to be careful and check themselves and each other for “cave ticks”. Wood ticks are a natural part of Minnesota camping so we thought we could easily get the boys to believe in cave ticks.

When the boys gathered for lunch we warned them about the cave ticks. It was a little hard to keep a straight face but we did it. I could tell the older boys were skeptical right away, but the younger boys seemed to accept it. The adults waited to see how this would play out.

During the course of the day most of the boys figured out we were joking or just plain forgot about the ticks. A few of the younger boys were a little worried at first and asked a few questions. We explained that they were similar to wood ticks and about the same size. There was nothing to worry about. Just pick them off if you find any.

The best part of the prank came Sunday morning as we sat down at the breakfast table in the dining hall. By then, nearly everyone had figured out the joke, except for two younger Scouts who were checking each other’s heads, looking for those ticks. After snapping a quick picture I started giggling, as did the rest of the adults. We then told them the truth about the cave ticks. After everyone got a laugh, including the two boys, we finished breakfast and moved on to pack up our gear for the long ride home.

If you would like to see a few pictures from the trip go to

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