Wildlife of the Amazon Part 2: Reptiles and Amphibians
Wildlife of the Amazon Rainforest Part 2: Reptiles and Amphibians
Guyana's Amazon rainforest and savannahs are great places to see many different species of reptiles though it take some practices to spot them. A good place to start are the interior and exterior walls of your accommodation where you will encounter many species of lizards and gecko's on every corner. These lizards are your friends as they eat many nasty flies, mosquito's and other bugs so do not scare them away.
Other places to spot reptiles are underneath logs in hollow trees under large leaves and underneath construction leftover (like wooden plates). Some of the other species you will most like encounter are the beautiful Green Iguana which is quite plenty in Guyana. To spot these great reptiles look in to trees and bushes especially along the water line where they often will jump in to the water when you come to close as they are excellent swimmers.
In to snakes? Guyana is paradise. With many dozens of species of snakes you will eventually encounter one or two. Still it is a lot harder than you would imagine. Snakes can feel our footsteps vibrations from far away and usually will scatter or hide long before we come near. For this reason it is very unlikely to step on a snake and be bitten. Even when venomous snakes do bite only in 50% of the cases they do not inject venom.
Great places to see snakes are around the river edges, during the day time it is great time to spot anaconda's and at night to Tree boa's with their eyes reflecting in spot lights. Keep your eyes also open when boating on the river snakes are great swimmers and can often be seen crossing the river which can give you an excellent view of the snake.
Are you volunteering at a ranch? Just ask the rancher and he will easily be able to point out one or two snakes in his house for you that keep his house clean of mice and rats. When travelling on horseback through the savannah hear a rattling noise? There might be a tropical rattle snake nearby.
What about the feared Bushmasters, the world's largest viper is surprisingly very hard to find as it is an ambush predator with excellent catalogue mimicking the leaf litter of the forest floor. The general advice is here for is to not step over any logs without seeing where you are putting your foot down. But you should encounter yourself lucky if you are ever to see one!
How likely is it to see Anaconda's, that depends on the purpose of your trip. If at any time a active search is done to find Anaconda's in most cases the Amerindian Guides are successful. Just be warned, the Amerindian communities we work with swear by it that they still see 30 Feet long anaconda's every now and then and if you would venture even deeper in to Guyana's rainforest you might even encounter 40 feet long snakes.
Guyana is also a great place to see frogs and toads. Frogs especially tree frogs and toads are found everywhere some as big as a small rabbit. You will find them on the floor of eating facilities and on the exterior of buildings, in toilets and in your room! While hiking in the jungle look on large sheltered leaves and logs to find colorful but deadly poison arrow frogs.
Turtles are most commonly encounter when fishing or bathing in the rivers including odd looking snake necked turtle while tortoises can be found digging themselves in to the savannah sands. When bathing in the rivers we recommend to shuffle your feet and by chance you might find a turtle it is also advisable to this to not step on sting rays.
The beaces of Guyana are also home to 4 of the world 6 sea turtle species including the largest of them all the Leatherback! These giants can grow up to a weights of over 750 kilo and look more like dinosaurs then anything else. They are still quite common at the unspoiled coast of western Guyana. If you are intersted to volunteer with turtles check out the following project: Turtle Rescue Guyana
Last but not least with a total of 4 different species of Caiman Guyana has a lot to offer for crocodilian lovers. Because larger crocodilian species have been wiped out in many places the spectacled caiman has become a pest throughout South and Central America. But not so much in Guyana, here the Black Caiman is still quite common and reigns supreme and keeps the spectacled numbers in place. Growing reportedly up to 6 meters in length the black caiman is one of the largest Crocodilian species and the largest species of caiman and alligators. They are very easily encounter while boating through the rivers of Guyana's Amazon where you can view caimans of over 4 meters in length.
The two dwarf caiman species in Guyana are a lot more shy and very difficult to spot, they prefer to hide in flooded forests and marshes and try to stay out of sight of potential predators like black caiman, cougars, anaconda's and jaguars.
Guyana is a great place for the herpetologists among us, it is here where very likely there are yet many more species to be discovered. Remember, reptiles are cold blooded so especially after a rainy day wake up early and try to spot snakes, lizards, turtles and caimans basking in the sun on rocks and logs.