Thursday, November 12, 2009

Animal Sightings in Panama

Today The Husband had a day off for Veterans Day. Instead of wasting away on our computers in front the telly we decided to get out of the house and tootle through the neighborhood. There was no goal or aim, we just bounced around. I say ‘bounced’ because there are so many speed bumps in Panama we are close to going insane. Rumor has it, anyone can put up a speed bump anywhere and if you look around you can see the rumor has some truths because some of them match, some of them don’t, some are here, some are there, some in pairs, some in tears. There are even a few with pieces of rebar protruding straight up waiting for your tire to stray. Our vehicle is suffering from them too. I’ll have to take some pictures to illustrate. Oooh, and the missing manhole covers… but I stray…

Today, after living here almost a year, we finally see a sloth! Not in the jungle, not in a park, not even in a tree… It was climbing a gated carport in the neighborhood. We jumped out and caught it on camera before the battery went kaput.
 I tried to get a shot with me and the sloth but the cam just didn’t have the juice. Sorry. I got so close I could’ve touched it but I don’t know how chickens and sloths get along. Plus, there were bugs crawling all over it. Uck. The resident dog seemed to get along with this sloth and tried oh so hard to engage it in play but apparently sloths earn their names honestly.

Sloth 001

Sloth 002

I thought I would share some other interesting animals we’ve came across in Panama so far.

Cane Toad: This is an actual toad found in our backyard. These are dangerous and poisonous little creatures. Well not so little. The big ones are about 7 inches. Seriously! They have pockets on their cheeks that secrete poisons. They are known to kill snakes, dogs, and even poison fishing holes. Luckily they are pretty harmless to humans unless you put one in your mouth. Even then I think this is where the old wives tales of hallucinogen frogs comes from but I won’t be testing that theory out anytime soon.

Cane toad untitled

Gato Solos: I had never heard of these before in my life. Before I saw one with my own eyes they were described to me as an animal that looks like a raccoon and cat mated. Their names translate to Alone Cat (I think). They’re also called Coati Mundi but I haven’t heard anyone refer to these creatures with this name. I’ve seen them take food from people’s hands so I think they’re pretty friendly. I mean, I haven’t petted one or anything. They mostly are all over the place making messes of trash bins and stealing mangos from people’s trees.

Gato Solo

Gato Solo

Gato Solo

Super Bird: That’s right… I have no explanation at all but this dove shows up with its friend in the back yard and it is wearing a cape! When I told people at first they asked me if I’d been kissing those cane toads. So I waited and waited… ok, not really, it was showing up everyday around 4-5 pm… and I caught it on film. I’m not crazy and I don’t know Photoshop, so there you go… Just look at the picture yourself.

Super Bird

And last but not least… Hulkum, the friendly Golden Retriever. I guess he doesn’t count though because he’s American, not Panamanian.


This article was featured in the Sharing Travel Experiences inspiring travel monthly roundup, December edition.


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