The jungle comes alive at night with all kinds of creatures that slither, crawl, scurry and fly. The sounds of the rainforest increase steadily as the sun sets and darkness settles in. The trained ear of our guide who grew up in the rainforest could pick out the distinct sounds of the various insects, frogs, birds and mammals that filled the thick humid air.
Every night we set out on the trails around the various lodges with our headlamps, scanning the dense vegetation on either side of the trail searching for reflections in the eyes of the creatures all around us. There were spiders everywhere with their little eyes reflecting 2 green dots. The eyes of the bigger animals like frogs, snakes, birds, and mammals reflected 2 orange spots. The biggest animals like jaguars and tapirs reflect 2 large red eyes.
Night walks allowed me to get up close to some really beautiful animals to take photos. Bonnie was a little less enthusiastic about getting within striking distance of the snakes or jumping distance of the poison dart frogs. Her squeals as moths attacked her headlamp kept most of the animals at bay, though she did manage to be the only person attacked by a bat during the 9 day trip.
Even in our room at bedtime we’d get visits from spiders, big bugs, frogs and one night a mouse joined us in our bed and ran around frantically trying to escape, but the mosquito net kept him inside. I’ve only seen Bonnie more worked up when we were in a flash flood zone during a thunderstorm…she was out of the bed in a flash while I captured the intruder in a sack and released him outside.
The hard part was finding the animals since they operate in stealth at night, but once their flashing eyes gave them away we could get within inches of them without them running.
Here are the pictures of the animals:
This poison dart frog was really cool to see up close, especially considering that one frog has enough poison on its skin to kill a thousand men.
This was the biggest of the many tarantulas we saw, we would wiggle a stick in his burrow and he would come out the attached the stick.
Look closely below, this frog camouflages well.
We spotted many snakes on the trail.
Below is the juvenile version of the huge boa constrictor Lewis spotted, shown in the top picture.
This bullfrog was huge, almost as big as basketball!