Peru - Day 3

Sunday, September 16, 2007
WARNING: This entry contains pictures of some big bugs that you may find gross.

The second day consisted of several sections.

I started the day by running across this large cockroach-like insect. Take a look at the surrounding footprints to get an idea of size:

After a quick breakfast, it was off into the boat again to head a few miles upstream to our next adventure. Along the boat trip, a random dead animal similar to a beaver floated by. I took this opportunity to embrace my morbid side.

These odd boats are located throughout the river. They are actually mining for gold in the riverbed. They pump the sand at the bottom of the river through a mercury pan. The gold in the sand sticks to the mercury and the remainders are dumped back into the river. They are notorious polluters, and most of them are running illegally.

The first section of this area consisted of a visit into the forest canopy. We had to cross several sketchy bridges to get to the right area:

From there it was to a half-assed series of platforms to climb up into a tree:

Once on the top platform, it was onto another one of those sketchy bridges which spanned several hundred feet across (and above) the forest. Unfortunately my fear of heights kicked in at this point, and I chose not to go across. That bridge scared the crap out of me, especially since it was only supported by being tied to nearby trees!

After everybody returned from the canopy walk, it was off for a lunch of fish spaghetti. Yes, fish spaghetti. It was actually wasn't too bad! Following lunch was some time to doze off in a few hammocks they had set up:

I bought that hat back in Puerto Maldonado for about $2. It was made entirely of recycled materials, but not because they were trying to be environmentally conscious ... those were just the materials they had on hand! You could read the writing from grocery bags in some places on the hat.

The second half of this area was to tour a zoo-like exhibit. I hesitate to use the word "zoo" because these animals aren't on display for the public (not that there is a public here anyway). This is actually an area set aside to care for animals that have been recovered from the black market or from animal smugglers. These ones were deemed unfit to return to the wild, so a few enclosures have been set up for them to be cared for, yet to also remain in their native rain forest environment.

I'm not sure who would smuggle a tapir, but obviously somebody did:

Exotic birds like macaws, toucans and parrots are always turning up:

Monkeys are also very popular for smugglers, especially small ones like spider monkeys:

Here's an odd tree I ran across. All of those large sacks hanging from the tree branches are birds' nests.

After all of that, it was time to head back to the lodge for dinner. There are two resident macaws at the lodge who were also recovered from smugglers. They were in really poor health when recovered and the staff is trying to nurse them back into shape. They chose to make an appearance today:

After dinner, it was time for my favorite part of the entire trip: the night walk! All of the big fun insects come out at night, and tonight proved to be no disappointment. There were huge grasshoppers:

Walking sticks:

All sorts of spiders (most of which are poisonous):




This tree is known as a Walking Tree. It is one of the few plants that can actually move positions. This plant will move up to several inches per year in search of sunlight and nutrients. It will grow a new root in the position it wants to move and let an old root on the opposite side die out over time. Repeat this over and over and you can see how it can pivot itself across the forest. Most of them tend to move in a circle of a 10-15 foot radius rather than go in a straight line across the forest.

I was about to head to bed for the night when a scream eminated from one of the other bungalows. A quick investigation found that a girl had discovered this little guy in her room:

She refused to sleep there at that point, so I switched her bungalows for the night and spent the night with crawly here lurking in the ceiling.


Leandro said...

I liked your "morbid side" picture very much. If you want to contributing for my blog, I will be very happy. I upload pictures every day about "Dead nature"("Natureza Morta" in Portuguese). Are you interest? Can I post your picture in my blog? I put your name and link. Forgive my bad-English

Dave said...


You are welcome to use this picture if you would like. I have it available on Flickr if you would like to use one of a different size: