It has been one of those years in which, if I didn't have any photographs,…
Spectacled Caiman – My Shot of the Day – January 18, 2013
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 intended.
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.