Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A Fer-de-Lance Story

Well for all you herpers out there, I'm sure you'll be interested in hearing that I FINALLY saw a Fer-de-Lance here in the jungles of Panama. Apparently we don't come across them as much as you would in Costa Rica or other areas in the tropics, but they are around. We had a good close encounter the other day while we were out in the far north section of Soberania. We were watching an eagle and I decided to get over onto the other bank of a small river to get a better view of the bird. When I headed back down into the stream, I walked along the shallow stream to look for a better way up to where everyone else was, and luckily I looked down because I almost stepped on a young Fer-de-Lance sitting on some exposed rock in the stream. It was coiled up on the rocks, and didn't seem too bothered by my presence (I'm sure if I stepped on him, or even closer to him, that would have made for a different story!). I let the others know and they all rushed over to see it and grab some photos.

A few minutes later, as one of the other members of the group was heading back up to where we were watching the eagle from, he said, "hey, here's another one". The one he found was quite a bit larger, sitting in some leaf litter on the side of a slope we used to climb through that area at least once that day already, not knowing he was there. Phew! So we all rushed over to that spot to take a look at the other one. Its colours were much darker and had more contrast than the young snake, quite beautiful actually. Both snakes sat motionless as we walked about the area, and it took a good pair of eyes to see them sitting there. As the larger one started to move because of our presence, I reacted a little out of the ordinary for me around a snake, and scurried to higher ground. And of course, that was the day I decided to just wear my hiking shoes as opposed to my somewhat more protective rubber boots... so I'm really not surprised that was the day we saw two!

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