Wildlife

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Warthogs are certainly one of Africa’s most bizarre creatures. At first glance, the warthog looks somewhat like a pig of “some sort.” However, when viewed closely or through binoculars, they are actually much stranger than just a type of pig. 

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The green iguana is one of the iconic species of the neotropical rainforest. This species has an extensive range stretching from Northern Central America southward throughout the Amazon Basin. They’ve also been introduced in South Florida, as well as the lower Rio Grande area of South Texas. Green iguanas are the largest lizard in the Amazon Basin, including the Peruvian Amazon, and large males may reach six feet in length. Females are considerably smaller, reaching about four feet in length. 

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The Sally Lightfoot crab is one of the world’s most beautiful crabs. Wow, how often does one hear the two words “beautiful” and “crab” in the same sentence? Well, this is certainly deserved as this hand-sized crab is ornately colored with red, orange, purple and blue coloration. These gorgeous creatures abound throughout the Galapagos Islands, and their typical niche is right at the tide’s edge on lava rocks. It does not matter if it is high tide, low tide, daylight or dark these crabs are at work feeding on algae.

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Leaf-mimic katydids are one of the marvelous designs of nature that IE guests typically observe during nocturnal walks on Amazon rainforest trails. These insects, which are comprised of a number of at least 13 different genera and over 100 species, have been described from Central and South America.

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International Expeditions' Director of Program Development Bill Robison is currently in Indonesia researching travel options. He sent us this photo and story from the road. You can see his other photos on IE's Facebook page.

March 21, 2013

Piranha Do Not Eat People

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The piranha conjures up all sorts of thoughts, many of which are based on movies, where piranhas consume anything that enters or falls into the water. Fortunately, this is not a usual circumstance and typically in the Amazon Basin, “People eat piranhas, piranhas do not eat people!” 

In free-flowing rivers and streams, piranha are incredibly abundant fishes, and although the red-breasted piranha appears to be the most abundant, there are also black piranha, white piranha and even the big fruit-eating pacu is a type of piranha. 

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The monk saki is an unusual primate for many reasons. At first glance, they may appear to be an arboreal termite mound or a burl on a branch, but what gives them away as being a monkey is their very long tail, usually hanging straight down below the branch upon which they sit.

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If you've seen the movie “The Ghost and the Darkness,” you’ll know the strength and ferocity of the African lion when they are so inclined to harm people. This movie is based on a true historical event that took place in the Tsavo area during the late 1800’s. Two male lions killed 130 people over a period of nine months. Of course, with modern transportation and weapons, this type of long-term killing of people by an animal predator is a thing of the past. Today, there certainly are many human deaths caused by lions in Africa and tigers in India, but they are isolated instances.

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On the isolated island of Madagascar, 51% of all bird species, 96% of the reptiles and of course, all 86 varieties of lemurs (species and subspecies) are endemic. This Verreaux's sifaka was spotted in the Berenty Reserve during International Expeditions' 2012 Madagascar tour. The reserve is a wildlife hotspot which protects 250 hectares of spiny forest and dry tamarind gallery woodland along with six species of lemur and a large colony of Madagascar fruit bats.

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The Amazon rainforest is home to many different primate species, including titi monkeys. There are many varying subspecies of titis, including the white-eared titi, red-bellied titi, ornate titi and the recently discovered caqueta titi.

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