Guyana

For your reports/images, made outside Europe and the "Mediterranean" countries. Not to be too narrow minded and limited to our European/Mediterranean herps.

Guyana

Postby Thomas Reich » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:08 pm

I had the luck to shorten the European winter by spending the first four weeks of 2013 exploring the vast, untouched rainforest of Guyana. First of all I have to say that this was not a real herping trip, but an adventure tour to experience nature as pristine as nature can be. Together with three Swiss friends, a highly experienced guide and five local (amerindian) people, we travelled a river by small boats. This is the only way to get to an extraordinary remote region where almost no man has gone before. There are no villages, no houses or huts, no roads and there’s no footpath. Thanks to the remoteness of the area, healthy populations of animals that have become rare elswhere do still exist.

January is the dry season which means that the timing was not ideal for finding reptiles and amphibians. In addition, we virtually only explored a single habitat: riparian rainforest. Because of this, we didn’t see too many herps. Especially snakes were hard to find. On the other hand, mammals are usually easier to find in the dry season because they need to drink water from the main river when the smaller creeks get dry. Altogether, this expedition was an unforgettable once in a lifetime experience.

Here are some impressions. I'll post more if you like. And please let me know if I misidentified any species.

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The sheer endless rainforest is connected to the Amazon Basin.

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We traveled about 400 kilometers on this river.

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Cane Toad (Rhinella marina). This species grows huge!

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Gold Tegu (Tupinambis teguixin), a big lizard that grows up to more than 1 meter.

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Juvenile of Green Iguana (Iguana iguana)

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Yellow-footed Tortoise (Chelonoidis denticulata)

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The most common amphibian was big sized Gladiator Tree Frog (Hypsiboas boans). Bobby, you would have loved it!

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Spawn of Hypsiboas boans. The male frogs dig round nest basins in the sand, which is a remarkable behaviour for a frog.

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The most often seen snake was Amazon Tree Boa (Corallus hortulanus). This nocturnal species was found on branches overhanging the river, where it hunts for prey. We also found nice blood red individuals.

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The impressive Emerald Tree Boa (Corallus caninus).

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At night, Caimen were easy to detect because of the reflecting eyes. Here the omnipresent Smooth-fronted Caiman (Paleosuchus trigonatus).

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Black Caiman (Melanosuchus niger) gets much bigger than Paleosuchus and can be dangerous to man.

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When threatened, Diving Lizard (Uranoscodon superciliosus) let itself fall into the water.

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Suriname Toad (Pipa pipa) is a very speical amphibian. It’s flat like overrun by a car.

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Up to 2012, Tukeit-hill Frog (Allophryne ruthveni) was the only species in the Allophrynidae family.

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Convict Tree Frog (Hypsiboas calcaratus)

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Definitely my personal highlight of the trip: Green Anaconda (Eunectes murinus)!

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Our experienced guide estimated its length to be 16 feet (about 5 meters). We discovered 4 Anacondas, three big adults and a 100 cm baby.

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Insects sucking snake blood.

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Aquatic coral snake (Micrurus surinamensis). This dangerous beauty is locally called Himeralli.

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Green Tree Climber (Plica umbra)

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Black-spotted Skink (Mabuya nigropunctata), the only skink of the region.

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"Brown frogs" were relatively common, especially Guianan White Lipped Frog (Leptodactylus guianensis)


But there are not only herps :

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Goliath bird-eating Spider (Theraphosa stirmi), the world’s largest tarantula. The abundance of spiders in the rainforest was amazing!

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This Puma (Puma concolor) was about to hunt down a sloth. It‘s very rare to have the luck to observe Pumas in the wild.

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We also saw two Jaguars (Panthera onca). Unfortunately, these sightings from a distance lasted only a few seconds.

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Capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris), the world‘s largest rodent.

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The endangered Giant River Otter (Pteronura brasiliensis) lives in family groups.

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Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja), one of the most powerful birds in the world, is rarely seen in the wild.

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The river was full of Black Piranhas (Serrasalmus rhombeus). Even I was able to fish one of them within minutes. We set them free because they got a lot of bones.

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Main food was Aimara (Hoplias aimara), a tasty fish that grows up to more than 1 meter.
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Thomas Reich
 
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Re: Guyana

Postby Heiko Wehner » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:17 pm

Simply wow.

Great pictures, I'm sure it was an awesome experience. Thanks for sharing, and I hope to see more!

Heiko
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Re: Guyana

Postby Andre Schmid » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:23 pm

AWESOME

Its everytime great to see the exotic herpeto animals in their natural habitat - simply great. Looks like a great experience Thomas, thanks for sharing !

:shock:
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Re: Guyana

Postby Guillaume Gomard » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:26 pm

I will not be original: WOW!

Guyana is one of my targeted destination since many years, thansk for sharing this super great collection of pics. In particular, the second picture of Eunectes blocked me for 20s, this should have been an intense moment of your trip.

One question (maybe I'll have more in the following): Is Melanosuchus niger common in the place you investigated?
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Re: Guyana

Postby Bobby Bok » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:29 pm

O M G!!! What an amazing series of pictures Thomas, how cool those treefrogs are, I think my high-light would have been that monstrous anaconda too. You even saw a jaguar, puma, harpy, amazing....

This summer I'm visiting Peru and my ultimate dream is to see an anaconda like that!
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Re: Guyana

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Tue Feb 12, 2013 10:35 pm

FANTASTIC! It's as if I hardly had posted the Peruvian plans we have... Some of that stuff will be hard and most likely impossible to beat, Thomas. I would be thrilled with at least 1 anaconda of any size! And then that emerald tree boa...... :shock:
Gotta get me some of that!
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Re: Guyana

Postby Jürgen Gebhart » Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:34 am

Fantastic!!!! Very, very cool Pics!!!

My favorites are the Jaguar, Puma and the Harpia!
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Re: Guyana

Postby Mario Schweiger » Wed Feb 13, 2013 8:54 am

Everything was already said (written) - simply fantastic!
The cat pictures are better than most taken in zoos ;)

Mario
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Please visit also my personal Herp-site vipersgarden.at
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Re: Guyana

Postby Niklas Ban » Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:06 am

:shock: Very impressing
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Re: Guyana

Postby Jimmy Lundqvist » Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:13 am

Epic!
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