The Lecture: Amazing True Tales and Photos of (larger) Amazon Animals!

Good morning, students.

Before I arrived in Ecuador, my concept of the Amazon involved jungles loaded with screaming monkeys, monstrous snakes looped between tree branches and skies filled with the eerie and ear-splitting screeches of exotic creatures…

But… well, you can see for yourself.

(Would someone in the back of the class dim the lights, please?)

There’s a two-toed sloth in this photo. No, really. Look closely… shut one eye and put the other one flat against your computer screen. Now do you see it?

Several times each day we would get in the boat and ride through miles of tributaries of the Amazon. It’s like a highway system for the villagers. William The Guide sat at the front and when he’d see something interesting, he’d motion for the pilot to slow down or turn around and go back.

When he spotted this two-toed sloth, we docked the boat and hiked into the jungle. I’ve always liked the idea of the sloth — an animal moving slowly and deliberately every second of its life.

William set up his high-powered binoculars-on-a-tripod so we could get a closer look. He used my iPhone to take this photo through the binoculars:

IMG_3939Is this a sloth, or a bag of hair? Are we looking at his head-end or his ass-end? Your guess is as good as mine.

This is the Saki monkey. He’s in the upper right corner.

You might be thinking, is that the best he’s got?

Another Saki monkey photo

I would include the other photos of the Saki monkeys — I have roughly 70 — but they aren’t as clear and vivid as these two…

(If you want to stop reading this post — and go do something interesting — go right ahead. I wouldn’t blame you.)

This is the Yellow-headed Manakin. It’s a bird. It has a yellow head. (Save your questions, please, for after the lecture.)
This is a mouse. The Amazonian Mouse? I really don’t remember.

Quick question: which of the following is more ridiculous:

1. William stopped the boat and had the pilot take us back to see this mouse…

2. I took multiple photos of it.

Yes, there is a right answer.

This is an Amazonian frog

I had the brilliant idea of putting my finger next to it so you could get perspective.

Funny story: this frog looks exactly like the ones we find in our back yard…

This is a huge anaconda. Its body was probably a foot thick and William guesstimated it was 18 feet long.
Unfortunately, it was dead. It had been dead for quite a while. It stank.

William guesstimated it had had a fight with a Caimen, an Amazonian alligator, and lost. “18 feet” was a guesstimate because much of the body had been eaten away by river critters.

And for what it’s worth, here’s my (yawwwn, excuse me!) guesstimate of the fascination of this sighting:


William called this a “baby snake”

We think it was asleep. Maybe it was in a coma. It didn’t move, not even a little, despite the several sticks William threw at it.

This is Amazonian Guide Butt. It isn’t rare and is often spotted by tourists.

Well, students, we’ve come to the end of another exciting exploration of the Large Animals of the Amazon.

I know, right?

I’m sorry… I’ll try for something better next time.

Class dismissed.

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