Charming Destinations is happy to share the latest news from our favorite boutique safari lodge in the southern region of Pantanal, the Embiara Lodge. Featuring private adventurous experience in the preserved eco-system of the Pantanal with its unique wetlands, Embiara is one of the most intimate of Pantanal eco-lodges, so that you can discover with us all of the amazing sights and sounds that this remote wilderness has to offer (please see our Into The Wild trip for details).
Recently one afternoon, we were on our way to the river when we spotted a female six-banded armadillo (Euphractus sexcinctus) behind a log. This species of armadillo is mainly diurnal, and is omnivorous. The armadillo seemed to grab something from the floor behind the log and then proceeded to walk towards us. First, it looked as if she was carrying a round fruit in her mouth (as we often see these animals eating fruits), but then we spotted a small tail sticking out of this little fruit-like ball. We realized that this was the armadillo’s young in her mouth, and it almost felt like she was presenting it to us. The armadillo stopped and then meandered toward our building area. Adauto, our resident field guide, said she was moving her baby to another spot. We had never witnessed this before, and so we had big smiles on our faces as we continued on to the river…
Embiara Lodge is a great place for seeing toco toucans (Ramphastos toco).
Toco Toucans prefer to inhabit semi-open habitats, hence why the Pantanal, with its various open habitats, is such a prosperous place for them. As well as eating fruit, this species of toucan also eats frogs, small reptiles, insects, and the eggs and nestlings of birds (it is not uncommon to see protective birds chasing toucans away from their nests).
The toucan’s bill can be used for reaching food which might otherwise be difficult to get to, as a defence against predators, and, as research has shown, as a thermal radiator for the bird.
Toco toucans are not very good flyers so will often be seen hopping between the branches of trees. The photo below shows a toco toucan in a cecropia tree. This tree produces a thin brown fruit which toco toucans love to eat.
Camera trap update – June
We have had a very productive month here with our camera trap. We have been keeping the camera on a track in the semi-deciduous forest beside the lodge – about 150 metres from the lodge. This forest is home to a huge variety of animals, and it has been interesting to see which animals are using this track to facilitate their movement through the forest. The photo below left shows a pair of pumas (Puma concolor) passing the camera trap at night just over a week ago. This is the second time in a month that the camera has recorded these 2 pumas together. 2 years ago our camera trap took photos of a female puma with two cubs, in a location not far from this one – we believe that these might be the same puma cubs, now as young adults. And the photo below right is a very rare sight indeed – a brazilian porcupine (Coendou prehensilis) passing the camera in the evening just two nights ago. Brazilian porcupines are notoriously difficult to spot as they sleep during the day, often hidden amongst tangled vines, or in the hollow of a tree. So to see a porcupine so clearly like this is a real treat. Porcupines are curious looking creatures – their sharp claws and prehensile tail help them with their arboreal existence. The spines on their body protect them from any hungry predators…
Recently, one afternoon, we were exploring the Rio Negro by boat. We decided to stop at a tiny opening in the gallery forest beside the river. As we got out of the boat and walked forward a few metres, we came face to face with a tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla) plodding languidly over the forest floor. The tamandua is well suited to a life in the trees where it feeds mainly on termites and ants. Its strong forearms, sharp claws and prehensile tail help it to easily negotiate even the flimsiest of branches. Sensing our presence, the tamandua retreated to the safety of a nearby tree from where it gazed curiously down at us…
Hyacinth Macaws (Anodorhynchus hyacinthus) love to eat the seeds of the different palm tree species which surround our lodge. One such species of palm tree is called the ‘bocaiuva’. It produces a round, ping-pong ball-sized fruit (as shown in the photo below). Inside this fruit there is a hard nut, and inside that nut are the seeds. Thanks to the power of the hyacinth macaw’s beak, it is able to break through this nut with effortless ease. Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to watch a group of 6 hyacinth macaws feeding on the seeds of this palm tree just 10 metres from the main lodge building. When they weren’t feeding, they were resting on the branches of a dead tree (as shown in the photo opposite).