Imagine our surprise when, on our first full day at the Madre Selva field station, Matt Cage and I glanced up while walking back up the hill from the dining area and saw this monster lizard lumbering across the grounds. Matt made a leap for it, but the lizard put on a burst of speed and disappeared into a small patch of jungle vegetation. Matt called for reinforcements, and in a few minutes five or six of us had the beast more or less surrounded. A few minutes after that it tried to bolt for freedom but was nabbed by one of the crew. We kept it around for a few hours and took many pictures before releasing it into the river.
Caiman lizards feed primarily on thick-shelled aquatic snails, and have massive, powerful jaws for crushing said snails. So it's a darn good thing that this one didn't bite anyone.
Here is a complete list of the herps I saw in the wild on my 2013 MT Amazon Expeditions trip.
- Bartlett, R.D., and Bartlett, P. 2003. Reptiles and Amphibians of the Amazon: An Ecotourist's Guide
- Dixon, J. R. and Soini, P. 1986. The Reptiles of the Upper Amazon Basin, Iquitos Region, Peru
- Duellman, W.E. 2005. Cusco Amazónico: The Lives of Amphibians and Reptiles in an Amazonian Rainforest