Wildlife

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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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The harpy eagle is one of the most powerful predators in the Amazon and one of the largest eagle species in the world. This winged hunter preys on monkeys, sloths, reptiles, rodents and other birds, and the sight of a harpy eagle snatching a monkey from a tree branch with ease is one you won't soon forget if you're lucky enough to witness it on International Expeditions’ Amazon river cruises.

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Most people do not think too kindly of caterpillars — especially those with flower or vegetable gardens — and certainly farmers, who do all that they can to rid their crops of the little eating machines.

When one considers the diversity of butterflies and moths, it is quite overwhelming. There are researchers who spend their entire lives searching out new species, and others who spend their lives trying to come up with new chemical technologies to wipe out insects, including caterpillars, that are harmful to crops.

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When most people hear the words “sea snake,” they immediately think of highly venomous snakes that inhabit marine (salt water) environments, just part of the reason sea snakes are greatly feared by many people. Most people also believe that sea snakes are only found in the Indo-Australian regions and the South China Sea, but sea snakes are much more wide ranging than that.

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Bird lovers planning to join International Expeditions’ Costa Rica ecotours will relish their time in Sarapiquí. The Sarapiquí region of Costa Rica's Heredia province is one of the few remaining locations where travelers can see the great green macaw. Keep your eyes on the trees to catch a glimpse of a macaw's nest, and listen for their crow-like call.

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