The big five of the Pantanal is (1) jaguar, (2) Giant anteater, (3) Giant otter, (4) Capybare and (5) Anaconda, but did we get see to see them all…?
Wow, what a trip to the Pantanal, “YES!” we got to see the big five, but we also got to see a lot more than that! All the animal pictures have mainly been taking by Esben with his Sony A6500 using the zoom lens “SEL70300G”, and off course a few pictures have been taking by me. Keep reading for more intel about where and what kind of animals we met on our Pantanal adventure.
Part 1: OUR northeast Pantanal (Mimosa)
The great thing about visiting the northeast Pantanal in the area around Mimosa, is that the area are more dry with termite mounds everywhere, so this is the perfect area to spot the giant anteaters. So we left Santo Antonio do Leverger, and only after a few minutes of driving, I had to slow to a crawl, because Esben had seen the first caiman. But more caimans showed up!
Click on the picture to watch it in full size
We were still on the paved road before Mimosa, and in the open areas I was driving very slow with the emergency lights turned on, since the rest of the traffic was going 80-90 km/h. This was also when Esben spotted our first giant anteater, just laying in the grass.
Later that day, we spotted this Giant anteaters during sunset. The giant anteater is also know as the ant bear, and is the largest one of the four living species of anteaters, with a length of 182-217 cm and weigh 33-41 kg (males) or 27-39 kg (females). It has poor eyesight, but its sense of smell is 40 times more sensitive than that of humans. So to get closer, it is very important to have headwind when you approach. Don’t run after it, but be quiet and slow.
The giant ant eater primary feeds on ants and termites (spotting our third giant anteater)
So it was all about keeping a eye out for anything, that where moving on the fields with termite mounds. We only saw ant eaters on fields, that where NOT occupied by horses or cows. The head of the ant eater is 30 cm long, and the tongue is 60 cm! The tongue is covered in thick saliva, which allows the giants anteater to collects insects with it. The giant anteater is feeding in the upper right picture. During feeding the tongue moves in and out about 160 times per minutes (almost 3 times per second).
The termite mounds are huge!
Taking about ants, Esben took some really nice macro shots of the leafcutter ants
They are quite easy to find, you just have to look for paths in the grass like this
Found this amazing place to camp, between a new and an old bridge after Mimosa
We went for a walk during sunset, where we spotted a giant anteater and a few caimans. Sunrise and sunset are the best time to spot animals, we had most luck spotting animals during sunset.
Now we know why there were so many holes in the old bridge… The locals are recycling the planks
The next morning we continued further south on the gravel road – a typical morning in the Pantanal
The birdlife in the Pantanal is every bird-lovers dream, and even for us it was amazing. Our interest in birds have really developed during our time in the Pantanal.
In this part of Pantanal we took a few sideroads, but since 98-99% of the Pantanal are private property, we were asked to turn around on one of the sidesroads. In general as soon as you leave the official road you will be on private property. We didn’t spot that much wildlife on the sideroads, but at the same time, there wasn’t that many sideroads, and 90% of them had a closed gate.
We headed back towards Mimosa, since the roads in the Pantanal are not through roads
Coming up! How did our on the Transpantaneira Highway go? Read all about it in the next post “Part 2: OUR northern Pantanal adventure (Transpantaneira highway)”.