I hadn’t originally intended to cover vampire bat facts in one of these blog instalments; however, when I saw the fascinating and unique footage (perhaps representing the only footage of parasitization of a wild host - a collared peccary) on one of my camera traps at Tambopata Research Center, in the Tambopata National Reserve, I needed no encouragement to pivot from my originally scheduled content.
When you think of the Amazon Rainforest – what do you think of? Usually, the rainforest comes to us in images of color, biodiversity and an exoticness which echoes in our imaginations. We often think of fauna or birds – colorful macaws and mysterious jaguars.
I step off a boat and set foot onto a beach, my feet sinking slightly into the soft, fine sand. I pause for a second and contemplate the smooth, featureless terrain in front of me...and then I look further beyond and notice the almost solid green wall of lush vegetation, reminding me that I'm far from the coast and the ocean, in the middle of the Amazon rainforest.
Thinking of going to Peru? Congratulations on picking one of the most exciting and interesting destinations on the planet! But where to go? Most people put Machu Picchu at the top of their bucket Peru list and with good reason; it's probably the most intact, scenic, and accessible of Incan sites. It's also easy to include a tour or two of Lima, a trip to Paracas, and a visit to the Nazca area but what about the other side of the mountains?
(Borrowing from a J&B whisky commercial from the 1990s…)
Tradition says: "A tree must begin its life from the forest floor".
Tradition says: "A tree shall form a relatively cylindrical trunk".
Tradition says: "A tree shalt not kill another tree".
Well, strangler fig trees clearly did not receive these edicts...or perhaps they did, and decided "To Hell with tradition!" - much to the delight of aficionados of bizarre, spectacular tropical nature of the floral kind.
The jungle! According to popular culture, tropical rainforests are deep, dark woods that hide countless perils. Enter at your own risk and expect deadly snakes, spiders, and other ferocious creatures at every turn! While such frightening descriptions are an easy means of formulating fiction, such tall tales about Amazonia are only encountered in the realm of books and movies. The truth about this famous rainforest is that it's actually much safer than most cities, and animals of all sizes are a lot more afraid of people than they are of them. But, that said, can you really travel to the Peruvian Amazon alone?