Saturday, July 12, 2014

Afternoon in the Amazon

After lunch we would generally have some down time. We could do laundry, lie in a hammock or observe the wildlife around the lodge.

These lizards were all over the place during the afternoons. I think this one was eating a tarantula.

This is a white lipped peccary, relative of pigs (you probably guessed that) and the greatest natural roto-tillers I've ever seen. A whole herd of them came by one afternoon and turned up the soil around the lodge.

Peccaries come in large groups (up to a couple of hundred) and the weakest and slowest are stuck at the back of the group. That way if a jaguar comes upon the group from behind (or they're fleeing) it's the weak and slow that get eaten.

And they STINK. Worse than well-kept domestic pigs. You could tell when they were around by the smell.

Oddly the temperature peaked about lunch time and the afternoons got cooler so by 3 or 3:30 it was time to head out again. My favorite afternoon hike was to a large tower on the edge of a cliff. It was a bit of a slog through the mud but then we got there. And had to climb up a ladder on the outside of the tower. The (estimated) three story tall tower. 

The view was nice.

The Husband is a bit afraid of heights, though. Or, as he puts it, not heights, not falling, it's the LANDING he's scared of.

I'm more scared of these guys - Bullet Ants. When they bite it's supposed to hurt as bad as being shot. And they were moving quickly along the railings, including where we had to get hand holds to climb down.


When we could, we timed our hikes back to occur in the dusk of the evenings (around 6 pm) so we could use our headlamps to spot insects, frogs and other small critters.


Tree Frog 

I haven't ID'd this snake yet. The guide picked it up but he was squeezing it a bit tight. Once he handed it to me (yes, me) I help it more loosely and it calmed down and everyone who wanted to was able to pet it's tail. Unfortunately the snake being calm did not translate into The Husband being able to take an in-focus picture of it in my hand (or to include my face in the photo). 

Waxy Monkey Frog. Also known as Please Don't Eat Me!

On one of our dusk hikes I taught everyone in our group an old Boy Scout Trick my dad taught me - Smelling Spiders. It works really well with a headlamp on but you can also hold a flashlight up by your nose and get it to work.

This only works at night and with an artificial light source. Go outside, have your light near your nose and start smelling.


Smell that? 


Do you see any tiny glimmers of green light down in the grass? Those little greenish glimmers are the light reflecting off the tapetum lucidum of the spiders' eyes (a reflective layer at the back of the eye - the same layer that makes cats eyes glow in reflected light).

The trick is to look for those green reflections and just tell the naive young boy scouts that you're smelling them. [I know, it's kind of a dumb joke but from what I could tell a lot of boy scouts is about kind of dumb jokes]

There were spiders EVERYWHERE.

Not all were this big, many of them were tiny. It was pretty cool when you could see the tiny jumping spiders' movement based on their eye shine.

[By the way, moth eyes reflect red]

After finally making it back to the lodge we usually had just enough time to shower before dinner. Which was good because after hiking all day through inches of mud we smell pretty much like... well, like a bunch of monkeys.

Dusky Titi Monkey [photographed from my room.]

1 comment:

  1. Good that you are passing on the smell out spider skill.