wildlife in panama

Wildlife in Panama

Plowing into the jungle near the Rio Obispo looking for birds, I immediatly saw a Crimson-bellied woodpecker, a sirystes and a type of trogon showing off a small butterfly he had taken. A green iguana crossed the path, far too fast for me to take a picture and I made a made a short video with the iphone of some leaf-cutter ants busy at work.

I decided then and there I needed both a bigger lens for my Nikon in order to take better wildlife shots but that I will also start saving my money for a decent little HDR video recorder.

That all took ten minutes.  By then I was dripping in sweat and realizing that I hadnt brought enough water to make the trek I had wildlife in panamaintended.

Soberania National Park is just 25 kilometers north of Panama City along the canal and one of the premier places to see wildlife in Panama.

Around a few corners and along a creek was a pond with a spectacled caiman floating among a bale of turtles.  He was smaller than I imagined he would be and didn’t seem to mind when I stuck my camera in his face.  He wasnt hungry for me.

Caimans eat a variety of invertebrates such as insects, crustaceans, and mollusks. The larger caimans will eat fish and water snails. Older animals are capable of taking larger, mammalian prey (e.g. wild pigs). Observations show that as conditions become drier, caimans stop feeding. In areas where this species has become depleted, fish populations have also shown a decline. Until recently, it was thought that the Caiman crocodilus would overeat the fish and snail populations. Some suggest that they control piranha populations. However, piranhas have not been found to be a normal meal. The C. yacare does demonstrate this particular dietary preference. In reality, it is likely that C. crocodilus is very much a generalist and adaptive predator, given its ecological success.

I grossly underestimated the amount of time I wanted to spend hiking through the jungle.  I spent so much time taking pictures and looking at birds, butterflies, flowers and, of course the caiman, that I never made it more than a kilometer towards the Rio Chagras.

I’ll be back in there late next week.

wildlife in panama



  1. Comment by Jim O'Donnell

    Jim O'Donnell Reply January 18, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Cristina Garcia Brindley – I know its not a giant cat but…what do you think?

    • Comment by Cristina Garcia Brindley

      Cristina Garcia Brindley Reply January 18, 2013 at 10:19 pm

      can't wait to see those!!

    • Comment by Jim O'Donnell

      Jim O'Donnell Reply January 18, 2013 at 11:30 pm

      I thought they would be bigger…..

  2. Comment by CJ Carroll

    CJ Carroll Reply January 18, 2013 at 11:42 pm

    Reminds me of the incredibly boney and colorful fish I caught off Catalina Island when attending camp there at age 12; scared the daylights out of my counselor who, gingerly, helped me unhook the prehistoric survivor who may be swimming in those crystal-clear waters to this very day!

    • Comment by Jim O'Donnell

      Jim O'Donnell Reply January 18, 2013 at 11:46 pm

      What a great experience that is CJ! Do you know what kind of fish it was? I guess the counselor decided you werent going to eat it…..I've never done much ocean fishing but would really like to try. I cant do it … or much fishing at all here this time but next time I come I will make fishing a point.

  3. Comment by CJ Carroll

    CJ Carroll Reply January 18, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    Am impressed at how clear and sharp your photos are even if you don't, in your opinion have the right lens. Surely though, you don't trek the jungle alone? Stay safe globe-trekker!

    • Comment by Jim O'Donnell

      Jim O'Donnell Reply January 19, 2013 at 12:09 am

      um….ya…I was alone. I tend to go alone…I see more…but I know its not always the best plan.

  4. Comment by Sheila Z.

    Sheila Z. Reply January 18, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    I too am looking for a larger lens for my camera. The shot is still awesome of the caimen. I am looking forward to seeing some incredible wildlife in the Keys & the Everglades soon. Keep the awesome shots coming…When I am not traveling- I live vicariously through others photos. The colors are so vibrant and unique, can’t wait to see more!

  5. Comment by Lisa Bayne

    Lisa Bayne Reply January 20, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    I’ve really enjoyed your Panama posts. What I would give to be “dripping in sweat” (it has recently warmed up here, though). The wildlife in the jungle, the humidity, cuisine, and different culture must be a real feast for the senses! Great images!

  6. Comment by Taos Rag

    Taos Rag Reply January 20, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    enjoy reading and seeing about your adventure.

  7. Pingback: Twenty-One Beautiful Birds of Panama - Birdgasm!Around the World in Eighty Years

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