Sunday, September 11, 2011
Reptiles and Amphibians of Brazil
The Pantanal hosts the world's densest population of crocodilians. Yacare caimans are everywhere. But have no fear, these alligator cousins eat fish and the occasional capybara, not humans. Indeed, they are quite afraid of anything large that walks near them. Perhaps because they aren't the top of the food chain. Jaguars love a tasty caiman meal.
At dusk, the caimans are joined by frogs (species, anyone?). These guys would crawl all over the lodge. Posing quite the obstacle course as we tried (successfully, I think) to avoid squishing any.
Can a lizard be beautiful?
Yes. With the dry season coming to an end, the tegu lizards had shed their old skins and were looking sharp. About two feet long, these guys look like a cross between an iguana and a monitor lizard.
We didn't encounter any of the famous snakes. No anaconda, no fer-de-lance. But on our last night of spot-lighting, we did find this cat-eyed snake. The photo doesn't do it justice; quite a lovely creature.
Our final wildlife sighting in the Pantanal. A red-footed tortoise crossing the road. He was a shy fellow, so we had to take our guide's word for it that his feet are actually red.
Iguacu had reptiles too. Amazon lava lizards looked quite lovely perched above the fall.