Our next activity on our Pantanal trip was a "safari," i.e, a drive around the land surrounding the pousada to look for wild animals. The pousada had the perfect "safari" vehicle:
Like the river boat ride, which inspired songs from Pocahontas, this safari truck inspired us to sing the Indiana Jones theme song (my sister should be happy to know that I was able to remember the tune before Bianca was). The problem was that it stayed stuck in our heads for the next two days. Whoops.
We started out on our safari trip late in the afternoon. It was Bianca and I, an older couple, and a woman with her two young children. The idea was that we'd drive around until sunset and then look for nocturnal animals (namely, jaguars!). As I had on every other activity, I pestered the guides about our chances of seeing a mot-mot, but they told me it would be unlikely in that kind of terrain. Sigh.
That was OK, though. We got to see a lot of other things!
Soon after leaving the farm, we encountered a lobo-guará, aka a maned wolf:
And we came upon a wild pig and some of her piglets (BABY PIIIIIGGGSS):
I was actually recording a video when we came around the corner and saw the litter, and so there's a very embarrassing video of me squealing louder than the pigs and saying "baby pigs oh my gooddddd!" but it's just too obnoxious for me to post. (I have a feeling, however, that those of you who know me in person can easily imagine it.)
We saw a couple of giant anteaters, and I got to say "zot zot zot!":
We also saw quite a few armadillos, but those are hard to get pictures of!
The guides had told us that, because of the relatively low rain levels this year, it was unlikely that we would see jabirus, which are the giant Pantanal storks known as the tuiuiu in Portuguese. Luckily, the guides were wrong! We found a marsh with a tuiuiu couple hanging out!
the horse can give you perspective on how big they are!
They had some friends hanging out with them, like other horses that probably belonged to one of the farmers in the area:
And some southern screamers:
|I was trying to get a picture of myself with the jabiru behind me. I was so excited!|
The sun finally set enough for the guides to bust out a spotlight that ran on the truck's battery. Then they drove us into the middle of some tall trees and grass and turned off all the lights and the truck's engine! The said they were listening for which animals were around, but it was terrifying. At one point, some animal made a noise. Bianca and I were convinced it was a jaguar, and we grabbed onto each other in fear. But the guides insisted it was just a wild boar.
I wasn't really into the idea of the night safari after that, but happily, we got to see the one nocturnal animal I was looking forward to:
The potoo, commonly known as a mãe da lua or urutau in Portuguese!
I stumbled upon this bird in my bird book before my trip and marked it as one I hoped to see. It's just so funny and small and ugly! It makes me laugh every time I see pictures of it. Even the name is funny! I couldn't believe our luck in the potoo being the ONLY animal that we saw on our night safari.
It was great to see all of that wildlife. After hours in that truck, however, I was ready to be back at the hotel room, with a hot dinner and a hot shower.