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Caves Playstyle.png
What treasures lie beneath?


Caves are large underground sections of the world filled with unique features. They are so large that they are generated as whole new maps upon entering. Caves have their own artwork, terrain, and maps. They are home to various creatures, plants, and other objects that do not appear elsewhere.


A fully-explored Cave (older map)

A Cave can be found underneath a Plugged Sinkhole. Upon mining the plug with a Pickaxe, an open Sinkhole appears with a rope leading down into a new Cave. Each Sinkhole connects to a different Cave. Each Cave is generated just like a new world. A different loading screen (pictured above) will play while it is created. While within a Cave, time in the world above continues to pass and vice versa. The Clock, however, is removed from the game's HUD while the player is inside a Cave, making it difficult to keep track of the current Day-Night Cycle.

Once a Sinkhole is unplugged, Batilisks can emerge at Dusk and roam the surface world, but will not travel far from the Sinkhole from which they emerged.

When a Sinkhole is entered (or "spelunked"), the player will be dropped into a small circle of light within the Cave, with a rope hanging from above and a skeleton nearby. Interacting with the rope will return the player to the surface world.

The worlds within a Cave are affected by the Day-Night Cycle, Cycle of the Moon, and the four Seasons. However, Caves are perpetually in darkness. This means that Sanity slowly drains while in Caves and, in areas of complete darkness, characters are vulnerable to Charlie. Some natural light may leak in from the surface in certain places, but these sources of light will only appear while it is daytime in the world above. Permanent or semi-permanent light sources can be found from certain objects that naturally occur in Caves, such as Light Flowers, Mushtrees, or Nightmare Fissures. However, since the large majority of areas in Caves are completely dark, players will need to bring their own sources of light to be able to effectively explore.

Giants and Hounds will not spawn in Caves. If a player skips a hound wave while spelunking, the wave will occur as soon as the player emerges from the cave. If a player skips the spawning of a giant, that giant might also spawn upon resurfacing (sometimes skipping the warm-up "growling" period). Staying in a cave until the season changes will prevent the previous season's giant from attacking in this manner.

Depths Worm Attacks

In place of Hound and giant attacks, Depths Worms will attack the player at intervals similar to the Hound wave attacks on the surface, and will increase in intensity as the days spent in the world increase. Like Hound attacks in the surface, Depths Worms will automatically target the player unless distracted by another mob.


Earthquakes occur fairly often while the player is within a Cave. When an earthquake strikes, the screen shakes and a rumbling sound plays. Rocks, Flint, NitreMarble, Gold Nuggets, and sometimes Red and Blue Gems will fall from the Cave ceiling. A small shadow will appear where each mineral is about to fall. If struck by a falling mineral, the player will take a small amount of damage. Many of the items that fall during an earthquake shatter when they hit the ground, but some will remain intact and can be collected by the player. Once the earthquake ends, Slurtles and Snurtles leave their homes and roam the Cave in search of minerals to eat.


In addition to normal Spiders, Fireflies, and Tentacles, the following creatures reside only in Caves:

More creatures can only be found in the Ruins, below the Caves.


Some surface plants can also be found in Caves, such as Saplings, Evergreens, Berry Bushes, Grass, and Mushrooms. However, several plants only grow underground: Light Flowers, Cave Banana Trees, Ferns, and Mushtrees (and its Red and Green variants). Like the above-ground versions, Berry Bushes and Grass will regrow after a few days.

A spider infested Spilagmite
A blue mushtree

Stalagmites are a common sight in any cave, and can be mined for Rocks, Gold, and Flint. Similar-looking Spilagmites are home to Cave Spiders and Spitters, and can only be destroyed with a Pickaxe. Less common are the Slurtle Mounds, which spawn slow-moving Slurtles and, rarely, Snurtles. Additionally, stalactites and various rock formations can be seen in the dark areas of the caves.

The 'heavenly light' that shines on the sinkhole when the player exits the caves.

Nightmare Fissures can be encountered in the caves and appear as jagged cracks in the ground, emitting light. The amount of light they emit changes based on the Ruins' place in the Nightmare Cycle. When approached, the fissure will spawn a Shadow Creature nearby which can detect and attack the player regardless of their sanity level.

Like the surface world, Set Pieces can appear in caves. These often include a skeleton and may even spawn advanced structures such as Ice Boxes, Science Machines, and Chests.                                                

The Exit From the Caves from Don't Starve Together.


Life Giving Amulets, Touch Stones or Meat Effigies will revive the player as normal.

Gift Icon.png Downloadable Content

In the Reign of Giants DLC, Rabbits and Moleworms can fall from the ceiling during earthquakes, along with other items. They will be in their 'stunned' state as if they were just dropped by a player, but will behave as normal shortly afterwards.

Don't Starve Together icon.png Don't Starve Together

In Don't Starve Together, the Caves received some re-balances. Their generation algorithm has changed to be more like the surface world, having fewer dead-end corridors. Light Flowers now only light up when a player approaches them, and they now have a dormant state to prevent players from exploiting their limitless light.

Since the ruins were moved to the same level of the caves, players must now have double caution when venturing through the darkness.

Unlike Don't Starve that has 3 separate Cave worlds, Don't Starve Together only has one Cave world per server, with a single Ancient Guardian, but the ruins can be reset by killing the Ancient Fuelweaver

The Toadstool can also be found in the caves.

If a player is inside the caves during Summer, Cave-ins can occur which drop Boulders around the player. These are caused by the Antlion on the surface.

Placeholder.png Trivia

  • The Caves used to have giant walls, making it hard for the player to see. These were later removed.
    • In the game files, unused wall textures can still be found. One of them is the wooden walls that were used for the Forbidden Knowledge short, and as interior decor for houses in the Hamlet DLC. These wooden walls were also used in an unfinished version of ruins, found in the files of the Hungry For Your Hunger update.
  • When Caves were first released and the player died in one, they would reappear at the Sinkhole on the surface revived without the the use of any reviving items. The player could retrieve their lost items, but any food would turn into rot.
  • Caves will often generate long stretches of ground that end up leading to nowhere. These can become deadly traps if the player is pursued down one.
  • According to Maxwell's quotes, he plugged up the cave entrance "a long time ago," and if the player mines it open, he will state that it was a bad idea to do so.
  • Before the Game Update 165304 of Don't Starve Together, only dedicated servers could support caves, otherwise unplugged sinkholes would have roots blocking the path.
  • On the subject of character unlocking in Don't Starve, Kevin said: "I'm not against having a secret character unlock down in the depths of the cave, but it would probably end up being a more esoteric one, like Wortox or something else non-human"
  • Basing in the caves during summer prevents the player from overheating, but they must still be wary of cave-ins that replace Antlion sinkholes on the surface.
  • To create convincing audio for the caves, Klei sent their audio department to the Britannia Mining Museum to record the sounds and impulses of a real life cave.[1]
Photo of Britannia Mining Museum by Klei
Photo of Britannia Mining Museum by Klei

Mosquito.png Bugs

  • When dying in Caves or Ruins, exiting the game right at the death moment will cause the Cave or Ruins world to reset. Upon reloading, the player will spawn in a new Cave or Ruins world and lose all the items along.
    • This bug can be exploited to make rare non-renewable items such as Green Gems and Thulecite renewable without using the Wooden Thing. This bug works only if the player doesn't have any resurrecting structures active.
  • After sleeping in a cave, the morning tune and evening tune play at the same time.
  • If the player starts a fire above the ground and then goes underground, no matter how much time is spent in the cave, the same fire will still be burning upon the player's return.
  • If one gets killed while going up/down a sinkhole, and they have a Touch Stone activated or a Meat Effigy built at the surface, the world will forever be stuck in the loading screen.
  • If the player plants seeds in a farm during Winter and then goes down into a cave, the crops will grow.
  • Sometimes when leaving the caves the Seasons glitch and the player jumps two seasons ahead (Autumn instead of Spring, Winter instead of Summer, etc.). The day count is unaffected.
  • Occasionally when entering the caves for the first time, a generated cave will not be saved after the player exits, causing a new cave world to be generated every time it is entered. When entering a sinkhole, players should be prepared for both scenarios of entering an existing cave and entering a new cave. Making structures in a cave or leaving rare items in a cave is not advised until after it can be confirmed that the generated cave is being saved.

Blueprint.png Gallery


  1. (Archived) Behind The Scenes - What Do Caves Sound Like? Don't Starve blog. Posted on May 8, 2013