Wildlife

Camels in the Americas? How crazy is that? Many millions of years ago, camelids (the camel family) were part of the fauna of North America. They existed and gradually evolved from tiny creatures the size of a domestic cat to animals the size of a goat...and eventually even much larger. The camels of North America survived until about 12,000 years ago, when humans crossed the Bering land bridge into North America.

Is there such a thing as a nocturnal monkey? Yes, and only in the New World tropics and they go by two different names, both of which are very fitting: the Owl Monkey or Night Monkey.

As much of the world turns its attention to Brazil for World Cup 2014, we’re looking at the iconic wildlife of the teams facing off. Our Round 1 match-up pits Chile’s guanaco, a favorite species observed on our Patagonia tours, against Australia’s iconic kangaroo. 


Chile: Guanaco

The Humboldt penguin is very similar in both size and appearance to the more southerly Magellanic penguin. When observed from the front, they are quite easily distinguished by looking at the dark chest band or bands depending on the species. The Humboldt penguin has a single black chest band on an otherwise white chest and belly whereas the Magellanic penguin has two black chest bands.

To most people, the words “giant hairy spider” send chills down the spine and basically give people the "heebe geebees.” For me, as a naturalist, I love finding big hairy spiders and it gives me great pleasure in finding a ficus tree (strangler fig type) full of holes with lots of tarantulas prowling under the hours of darkness. 

There is little in nature as enduring as a penguin. They somewhat resemble little humans in tuxedos and walk like Charlie Chaplain of the silent movie era. Actually, penguins were walking on earth and ice and swimming in the southern Oceans long before the days of Charlie Chaplain, so it should be said he walked like a penguin as opposed to the other way around. There are a few species of penguins known to occur at the Southern tip of South America but only the Magellanic penguin is a common resident.  

Poison dart frogs may be observed in many of International Expeditions' Neotropical destinations. Our Costa Rica tours and Amazon cruises are two of the best trips to observe these amazing little frogs in their natural environment.

The Nile crocodile is Africa’s largest reptile and it is certainly up near the top in being one of the most dangerous animals on the continent. A large Nile crocodile may reach close 20’ in length and as they grow beyond 12 feet in length, their girth and massive body proportions greatly increase with the additional growth. Truly magnificent creatures, Nile crocodiles will prey on virtually any animal that ventures near the water.

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Guests on IE's people-to-people Cuba tour may be suprised to learn that although Cuba has many endemic bird species, there aren't many mammal species endemic to the island nation. One little mammalian creature who does call Cuba home is the Cuban solenodon, a curious looking rodent with a powerful bite and an interesting history.

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