Each Sinkhole leads to a new Cave or Ruin. When first discovered, the Sinkhole will be a Plugged Sinkhole and is covered with a jagged rubble mound; the player can usually tell they are close to a Plugged Sinkhole on the surface when they find Rocks lying about in the Biomes for no reason. Mining the Plug reveals the hole with a rope going down into its depths while providing Flint and Rocks on the surface and Thulecite and Thulecite Fragments underground. It takes six hits from a Pickaxe to unplug it. Once unplugged, up to 6 Batilisks will spawn quickly from the Sinkhole at dusk and return underground in the morning. If Batilisks are killed, they will respawn at a rate of 1 per minute until the maximum of 6 has been reached.
There are only three Sinkholes in a surface world and one for each Cave. Plugged and open Sinkholes are marked on a map by a gray mound and a hole with a red arrow pointing downwards, respectively.
On default settings, the three surface Sinkholes are guaranteed to spawn in the following locations:
- A Mosaic biome.
- A Pig Village (generally, this village also has a Pig King).
- The Forest biome found in the center of the world's Marsh.
The number of sinkholes in the world settings can only be "Default" and "None".
Thulecite Sinkholes are usually found on Stalagmite Terrain.
In the Hamlet DLC, Sinkhole can be found in Pinacle Biome, which can only be accessible via BFB. Sinkhole in this DLC doesn't lead to a new Cave. Instead, it leads to a cave system similar to the Ancient Pig Ruins and Mant Hill, consisting of a series of connected rooms. In one of the rooms there will be a Stone Plug in the middle of the back wall. Mining this rock will trigger a single Earthquake, which will create a passage out of the caves. This passage will lead to one Cave Cleft on any of the other 4 islands, regardless of whether or not it had been explored.
In Don't Starve Together, caves are only one extra world, so all sinkholes lead into the same cave. As the Ruins are on the same level with caves, there are no sinkholes in caves leading further below.
In default settings, the world will have 10 sinkholes, and caves will have the same number of corresponding staircases, scattered around in the "caves" part of underground. Notably, the relative location of either of them has no influence on the locations of their counterparts, so for example, a pair of nearby sinkholes will typically lead to staircases which are far apart from each other (or vice versa).
- The high number of sinkholes and staircases in Don't Starve Together often leads to one or more pairs of either spawning close to each other, allowing players to use them as a form of fast and no-cost travel.
- As a disadvantage of the above tip, most followers don't follow the players in or out of the caves.
- The sinkholes were plugged up by Maxwell a long time ago, as revealed upon his examination quote.
- Basalt found in previously generated worlds were actually placeholders for Sinkholes and were turned into Sinkholes when the Caves update was released.
- Sinkholes originally had a lighter gray color.