Peru: Suyo

The thing that struck me most about Peru is all of its different parts. It is dry, it is wet, it is cold, it is hot (REALLY hot), it is dry, it is humid (REALLY humid), it is high it is low, it is on the coast, it is in the mountains, it is in the suffocating rain forest. I was amazed at the diversity of landscapes, food, and people that are engulfed within one massive country. I was originally planning to post about all of the Peru expedition, but it didn’t seem fair to all of the amazing nooks and crannies we found ourselves in. Our first stop was in the north of Peru, where it is mostly coastal desert until you reach the Andes. We took an overnight bus from Lima (liquid nitrogen and all), and after a groggy 14 hours, the term “mirage” might be appropriate here. When we finally convinced ourselves of what we were seeing after hours of Star Wars-esque terrain, the surprisingly bustling city of Piura emerged out of the desert. We met with our fellow bat biologists and hopped in a (precarious) pick-up, for yet another 4-ish hours north, until we were almost in Ecuador. A family welcomed us in their home and we were able to set up our field equipment for the night.

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Our first night was in Roca Rojada in Suyo. The views speak for themselves.

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By day, we are full time dog-petters…

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…but by night, the life of a bat biologist really begins.

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Others prefer the after-hours as well…

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With only a wink of sleep, we get ready to set off to our next locality. But not before some last minute freshening up…

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thumb_DSC_0442_1024Next stop, four hours up the mountains.

interesting things that happened to me in costa rica

I am currently wrapping up  a field expedition in Costa RIca at the palace of all field stations La Selva Biological Research Station to catch bats.  Cool, huh?  Dull moments are few and far between in the field, but this particular trip seemed to be an endless bombardment of absurdity. I’d like to present the most ridiculous highlights.

[1] What better way to start off the trip than an encounter with an extremely venomous (yet still somewhat adorable) pit viper? Within 20 minutes of arrival as we were putzing around searching for places to set up the mist nets, we nearly stepped on were warmly welcomed by a fer-de-lance (Bothrops asper).

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“Bienvenidossssssssssssss!”

[2] After we each individually recovered from our lives flashing before our eyes, we treached onwards to set up the nets. What shows up next? A mother-flipping kinkajou (Potos flavus).

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merrr

As the week continued on, the following awesome events occurred in my life:

[3] I worked along side a Chewbacca riding a skeleton ant hanging from the ceiling.

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[4] I wrapped this bat (Carrolia castanea) in a blanket.

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[5] I fed this bat (Artibeus) a banana.

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[6] I posed for a picture with this bat and it actually smiled for the camera.

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[7] I walked into giant hollow trees to look for vampire bats.

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[8] I saw this Halloween snake (Urotheca) as it tried to scamper away and it was really freaking awesome.

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[9] I held the world’s cutest bat (Ectophylla alba) and all was well. 

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[10] I had to drive this car throughout all of Costa Rica and then drive to this random liquid nitrogen dispenser in San Jose and refill our gigantic liquid nitrogen tank.

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[11] And last but not least, I saw and fell in love with all of these spiders.

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mommy wolfie and her babies

Meep!