A pick of the best from July and August 2012
of the late arrival of the dry season, it is certain that it is already here.
It seldom rains, and hence trails are not muddy anymore. But besides, due to
the lack of water, there is less available food on the forest, so animals have
to move more if they want to feed properly. Therefore, during the beginning of
the rainy season, there have been many different sightings, but especially many
mammal sighting. Read below if you want to know the most special ones!
· The Southern Tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla)
At only 600m away from the Inn, just a day after
arriving, RN Tristan was fortunate enough to see the enigmatic tamandua. It was
tearing away the fronds from a palm with its huge fore-claws to get at the
honey within a bees nest. Once full, it clambered down the trunk completely
unaware of my presence, until a curious look in my direction sent it ambling
back up the tree.
The tamandua is a close relative of the giant
anteater, it’s a medium sized mammal that is at home on the ground and in the
trees. Its diet consists of termites, ants and bees which it draws into its
mouth with an absurdly long tongue through an elongated snout, it has no teeth
so does not chew its food but swallows it straight away. To help it get up into
the tree-tops the tamandua has a specially adapted prehensile trail which acts
like a 5th limb. This adaptation of the tail is also characteristic
of many of the monkey species found in the reserve.
· The Tayra (Eira barbara)
Shortly after sunrise on main trail, a colossal turkey
vulture was spotted in the high branches of a Brazilian nut tree, its wings
were spread wide to warm itself in the morning sun. Just beneath the vulture,
on the very same tree were three energetic Tayras playing after a light
breakfast of honey. They stayed for almost half an hour as we watched with awe
at the ease with which they leaped through the tree-tops and rolled along the
branches trying to scratch and relieve the bee stings that covered their
bodies. This sighting was particularly special as Tayra’s are usually only seen
in passing, crossing the trails or bounding through the treetops in a dark flash.
Here we were fortunate enough to observe the animals up close and get a little
insight into a typical morning in their lives.
The Tayra is a medium sized mammal belonging to the weasel family or Mustelidae, they
feed on small vertebrates (mainly rodents), insects fruit and honey. They have
been measured to have massive home ranges of up to 24km2 and are important
dispersers of seeds for several tree species.
· Emerald tree boa (Corallus
This species is one of the most special snakes you can
see. It is a constrictor species of the family boadiae, meaning it uses its
incredible strength to squeeze its prey to death as opposed to using the toxic
venom like the vipers. It can grow to 2.5m in length and is a beautiful emerald
And the sighting becomes even more special if there is
also another species of boa, the Amazon tree boa (Corallus hortulanus) only a few meters away! It occurred during a
night walk, on July 2nd, when RN Laura suddenly saw small shiny eyes
right beyond the trail. With a closer look she realized what it was. But when
RN Albert just lighted on a tree by chance, Laura saw a long green emerald snake
hanging on a tree. Two boas in the blink of an eye is not bad!