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Friday, January 6, 2012

The worlds largest...

The hotel we are staying at offers a complementary night tour. Last night we took ours. It was in English – good. The guide told us the goal was to see capyburas and maybe some caimans or crocodiles. We rode in a truck that had been modified into a short train. The guide scanned the brush with his flashlight, which shot a strong beam of light quite a ways out, looking for creatures which we might happen to chance upon. The first animal he spotted was out in a field. It was the worlds largest rodent – a capybura. It didn't move and we just stared at it for a few minutes as the guide told us a few facts we would forget as soon as we saw the next animal. The second animal was a wooly possum. We were driving as usual when the instructor had the truck stop. His flashlight beam settled in one place, but all I could see was a small fleck in the constant grass field. This turned out to be the wooly possum. It ran away after being in the spotlight for a minute or two. Shortly after we saw what the guide called a “night hawk” although I'm sure more complicated names are available for the bird. All that was visible was a faint outline, the guide told us that they lay their eggs on the ground rather than have a nest in the trees. The tour progressed further and we didn't see anything for a while. Then we could see the hotel looming in front of us, when the guide spotted one last thing. The side of the road was banked and in it was a whole slightly bigger than a golf ball. This was a tarantula's nest. In the nest we could see a small white ball – an egg sack. The tarantula living in this nest was a female. The tour ended shortly after the tarantula nest was spotted. It was worth it, we had seen a lot of wildlife in the short tour.

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