Boa catches tayra near Otorongo lodge

Last June, I was gardening at my home in Oran when I heard a bone chilling scream coming from the forest just behind the lodge. I immediately ran into the forest to investigate what had made the sound. After about ten minutes of searching, I found nothing. Is tarted heading back to the lodge when some movement caught my eye. It was this giant red tail boa wrapping up a tayra which is a large member of the weasel family.

The tayra is a very strong animal known to eat spiny rats, squirrels, snakes, henna fruit, papaya and insects. They are terrestrial and arboreal so they have very large sharp claws.

I believe the boa caught the tayra completely by surprise, otherwise it might have been a different outcome for the snake. It is known that tayras also eat red tail boas. I personally think the tayra smelled the snake and headed straight to it for a meal.

We observed and took a few videos but later left the snake to swallow his meal.

Of course we had no guests at this time in the lodge, no one to show off to. That usually happens.

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Tamandua anteater caught on video by guest

I would like to thank Michelle Lam who visited earlier this year for posting this video.

They were on excursion upstream Amazon River from Otorongo lodge when they spotted this beautiful tamandua eating the fire ants from a cecropia tree.

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Charapa Ishpa – flooding event coincides with turtle hatching

Its the end of our low water season here on the Amazon River near Iquitos Peru. This means the tributaries from the distant foothills of the Andes Mountains are swelling with rainwater and start their rush to the main trunk of the Amazon and eventually to the Atlantic. There is a annual spike in the water levels at the end of November that is famously know to locals as Charapa Ishpa

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Amazon river dwellers have a specific name for this sharp rise of flood waters called “Charapa Ishpa” Charapa being the giant river turtle (Podocnemis expansa) and Ishpa which is a Quechua word for urine. Don’t be fooled though, the water is not rising from all the adult turtle urine . The phrase actually comes from a tradition when a human baby is born in Loreto, Peru, There is a celebratory ritual dubbed tomar Ishpa (literally drink pee) that almost all the fathers (sometimes mothers) comply with. What that means is binge drinking from one night to sometimes over a week ( maybe to escape fatherly duties?).

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So the Beer (or other alcohol) is the symbolic Ishpa (urine) from the newborn baby. Yup, that’s right, celebrating the birth of kin by drinking some newborn “Ishpa”

So what does all this have to do with giant river turtles and the rising water?
In the months after the floods recede, many species of turtles climb up the beaches of the mainstream Amazon River to lay their eggs. The incubation period can be as short as 45 days yet the average is sixty days. It has even been known that the young turtles hatch and stay in the nest awaiting the rains to facilitate their dispersal into the water. This hatching happens in our area at the end of October well into November just as the water levels start to rise. This is the event ” Charapa Ishpa ” as if the giant river turtles were drinking heavily celebrating the prolongation of their species.

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Sweet Curaray Peacock bass!

I’ve just returned from a 14 day Sport fishing trip up the famous Curaray River.

Curaray river is shared by Peru and Equador being a main tributary of the Napo river which eventually ends roughly two hundred miles downstream in the Amazon River.
My guests were most interested in catching the legendary piraiba or shark fin catfish ((Brachyplathystoma filamentosum) can reach up to and over 400lbs)
We set off in our wooden expedition boat from the town of Santa Clotilde located on the Napo River. From there we navigated day and night for three days close to the border of Peru and Equador .

After the second day of navigating the water quickly rose three and a half feet making catfish much harder to catch so we decided to split our fishing time between peacock bass in the morning and catfish in the afternoon into the late night. The peacock bass fishing was phenomenal in the sense that every cast was a bite with multiple other fish following the one who was hooked so we were being dazzled every moment of the lake fishing.
The largest caught was by Byron weighing 8.8 pounds and 22.5 inches

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Dave didn’t do to bad but lost to Byron by .8 pounds and a half an inch.

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Probably the quirkiest bite was two mid size peacocks that bit the same rattle trap at the same time. As I brought them to the surface I quickly pulled out my camera to get this picture.

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Our final catch a total of 150 pounds of peacock bass!

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A view of some of the oxbow lakes we fished in just off the Curaray river

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We desperately fished the big river at night for the piraiba catfish but all we could catch were giant stingrays so our time was running out and we had to give up until next year. Luckily we managed to find those lakes that were just out of the influence of the rising water.

If you are interested in chartering an expedition for fishing or wildlife watching, don’t hesitate to contact Otorongo Expeditions

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Giant black Pacu caught

Colossoma macroponum – Black pacu- Tamabaqui(Brazil) Gamitama (Peru)

This incredible specimen was captured on rod an reel from the banks of the Amazon River near the village of Oran, lower Amazon River Peru.

Angler Anthony Giardenelli was taking advantage of the low water conditions of the Amazon river fishing the deeper waters for catfish when this giant fish took his bait and went running downstream. Anthony immediately felt the weight and knew it was too much for his gear. There was little time to react , his fishing companion Eber Jose cut the boats tether just in time as the fish pulled the boat away from shore.

The giant took off downstream pulling out many yards of line as the aluminum boat slowly was pulled behind it. After three runs and fifteen minutes later, the fish seemed to be tiring . As the behemoth broke the surface of the water next to the boat,you could hear the shouts of amazement and excitement of the two fishermen as they watched with disbelief the fish that was before them. After gaffing the fish and a great show of force,Anthony embarked the monster into the boat in two motions. The fish weighed 81 pounds and fed over seventy people over the course of a week. The guests at Otorongo Expeditions jungle lodge were treated to a local delicacy that would be impossible to top.

The black pacu is an ancient fish related to the pirañas. The natural history of these fish is very interesting because of the time they spends the seasonally flooded forest feeding in fruits and nuts that are falling from the trees into the water. Every year these fish concentrate in the main channels during low water to fight the current upstream to their spawning grounds. They spawn from November to February high in the headwaters of turbulent white water rivers.

They are specially designed for searching out fragrant fruit in the forest. With a very well developed sense of smell and hearing they are highly attuned to the falling of fruits in the water . If you ever have the privilege to canoe in the flooded forest where these fish are present. You can easily hear the crunching of this fishes molars as they chew large hard shelled nuts under water. You can compare that noise to two pool balls clanking together underwater.

Each year there is an evident increase of catches of this species of fish. Not only with hook and line but local fishermen are even catching juveniles in their nets. This species along with others was almost wiped out by commercial fishing in the decades 70-90. There has been a great increase of proper management and even artificial recruitment in the form of releasing fry in Brazil and Peru. It is a very hopeful sign for the food security of the Amazon.

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To learn more about fishing with Anthony in the Amazon check out Otorongo Expeditions

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Amazon river level drops, good news for fisherman, bad news for fish

As expected , the worlds largest river has begun its downward cycle to the lowest levels of the year until spiking up again with the seasonal rainfalls in the headwaters. You may note a leveling off for several days, these are local flooding events in distant tributaries such as the Ucayali and Marañon rivers.

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Our Sportfishing season is starting here and we are starting with a Bang!

20130616-092038 p.m..jpgAndi with his red tail catfish

20130616-092108 p.m..jpgLogan and his tiger catfish

20130616-092151 p.m..jpgJohn with his white piraña

20130616-092304 p.m..jpgJon with his peacock bass

20130616-093210 p.m..jpgEber with an assortment of brook fish

20130616-093438 p.m..jpgmyself with a very nice brycon and other assorted brook fish.

To learn more about the only Sportfishing outfitter in the Peruvian Amazon, please contact Anthony Giardenelli at Otorongo Expeditions

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Amazon Sportfishing outfitter

20130721-062916 p.m..jpgOwner and top fishing guide Anthony Giardenelli

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