Wildlife

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.

As the sun sets over the Western skies of the Upper Amazonian rainforest, something quite magical occurs. The sky may be a glorious riot of colors which gradually give way to darkness. Darkness, like many people have never seen as there are no city lights to obscure the sky and very soon after dark it is obvious there are a trillion stars in the sky. Amazingly, constellations that may be most familiar to us are not apparent.

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