Readers’ wildlife photographs (and Spot the caimans!)

Reader Lou Jost sent me a multipart series of photographs from a recent trip he took to the Tambopata National Reserve in the Peruvian Amazon. This is the last set of photographs, but because I’m at home, leaving early to go downtown, this is the only one I have, so I’ll put it up today. It’s a series on caimans, which includes a “spot the caimans” photo. Lou’s text is indented:

Spot the caimans

“Spot the camians!”. There are eight caimans in this first picture—at least. A mother and seven babies. They are easy. I attach a “reveal” photo too [JAC: That will be up at 11 a.m. Chicago time].

At remote Amazonian sites, animals generally are not nervous around people. In the little lagoon shown here, almost everything went about its business right next to us as if we weren’t there (turtles were the exception, but even they didn’t stay hidden for long). A mother Spectacled Caiman (Caiman crocodilus) and her babies patrolled the pond and made cute croaking noises. I count seven babies in this photo, but there could be more.


Some of the mother’s teeth have punctured the top of the snout and now protrude through it. They don’t start out that way; many photos on the internet don’t show any protruding teeth. For example see this Wikipedia photo.

Spectacled caiman mother with teeth protruding through its snout. Ouch!


The Rufescent Tiger Heron (Tigrisoma lineatum) above the caimans initially assumed a bittern-like pose with its beak pointing to the sky, but it quickly gave up that charade and just sat there wistfully watching the caiman babies….


We saw many caiman every day. Here’s one on the bank of the Rio Tambopata, a Spectacled Caiman:


And here is some nice caiman food on the riverbank, a capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris).



  1. jaxkayaker
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Great photos, Lou. Thanks for sharing.

    Are you hiring, by any chance?

    • Posted September 27, 2016 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      I highly recommend a trip to this place. It is easy and extremely comfortable. If you go during Sept like I did, you might even have to wear a winter jacket and wool hat because of the “friajes”. We had to put on all the clothes we had brought with us, it was so cold. The staff filled bottles of hot water for us to sleep with. Virtually no biting insects either. We were walking in a tropical rainforest that felt colder than a fall day in Wisconsin.

  2. Posted September 27, 2016 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    I think I see a freshwater stingray in the picture too…but I did not notice it at the time I took the picture, and it might be my imagination…

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      I got them, but it took a while to see the 8th one.

  3. Posted September 27, 2016 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Found them all, plus the brown and yellow bird. This is one of the few times I’ve spotted the “Spot the.”

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      I see a little bird with a yellow beast, white streak on its poll, dark wings and tail. In addition to the heron, Is that the bird you’re referring to?

    • John Harshman
      Posted September 27, 2016 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      Social flycatcher, perhaps?

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted September 27, 2016 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

        I Googled and it sure does look like one. I’m glad for the reference. Not long ago, left to my own devices, bad eyes, lousy binoculars, distance, I had people from the local Audubon society gawking at a bird I’d identified as an azure-winged magpie, which I thought must have escaped from a private aviary (I once worked at one and exotic birds sometimes escaped). I observed this bird from afar for days and days and days. It sat at the top of a very tall redwood on the next block and no matter how I tried, I could never get a close look at it. Needless to say, bird’s-egg on my face when, with their superior ocular equipment, they were able to watch it fly to another tree, much lower to the ground, and told me that it was a California scrub jay. But it seemed much larger than a scrub jay. I was fooled by the distance, the light, everything. But I’ve watched jays since I was a young child, I protested, and one perches on the tree outside my window almost every day. How could I be so wrong? I sure felt foolish, but it was a good and humbling lesson; and the folks from the Audubon society got a good laugh.

        • John Harshman
          Posted September 28, 2016 at 8:50 am | Permalink

          Moral: you need to get some better binoculars.

  4. Kevin
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Never realized how majestic the caiman is. She has a nice head.

  5. Mark R.
    Posted September 27, 2016 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Great shots and commentary.

    Are Caiman as dangerous as American Alligators or Salties? I guess it would depend on their size which is hard to tell from the photos.

    • Posted September 27, 2016 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

      No, this species is not dangerous. But the Black Caiman is quite dangerous and gets huge.

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