Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Animal Planet: Giant Anacondas in Venezuela
Local Venezuelan guide Juan Carlos Ramirez of Akanan Adventure and Travel recently took scientist-explorer Niall McCann on a hunt for giant anacondas in Los Llanos and the Rio Caura for the programme "Biggest and Baddest" on Animal Planet.
The pair started their search in Hato Cedral, a working cattle ranch in Los Llanos that is one of the best places in Venezuela to see birds and wildlife.
Apart from hundreds of species of raptors and wading birds, Hato Cedral is blessed with rivers full of cayman alligators, red-bellied piranhas, and herds of large, toothy rodents called chiguires (capybara).
It is also a place where you can guarantee an up-close-and-personal experience with an anaconda.
I once had to walk in front of the car and drag the anacondas off the road as we made our way out of the hato to the main road.
But those were small anacondas, no more than 2 metres in length. Nothing like the 5-metre beasts that have been found here.
Juan Carlos and Niall had even more success in the Rio Caura, a tributary of the Orinoco River and one of the most pristine jungle river systems in Venezuela. There, they traveled up to the mighty Para Falls, which separates the Upper Caura, heartland of the Yekwana indigenous people, from the Lower Caura.
Finally, they found their monster, a 5 metre 50 cm long anaconda, with a girth of 64 cm, although it's a baby according to the local Yekuana and Sanema (an indigenous group from the same family as the Yanomami).
For more information about anaconda watching in Los Llanos and the Rio Caura, contact Juan Carlos Ramirez at Akanan Travel and Adventure.
An Account of my Visit to the Yekwana Village of Nichare for a Big Fiesta That Included Copious Amounts of Yuca Beer
Some photos of my trip to Para Falls on the Rio Caura