What a ´otter fun!

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Flag of Brazil  , State of Mato Grosso do Sul,
Sunday, August 11, 2013

On arrival in the pantanal region, an area of wetland four times the size of Switzerland in the heart of south America, our guide Tom showed us a photo of a giant otter casually munching it's way through a Cayman crocodile... "This is the king of the pantanal waters" he said, top of the food chain in other words "but pretty rare".

Some of you may remember Tracie taking a month to study hawk moths some 5 years ago- this was also in the pantanal but in a remote part on the Paraguay side... She spent weeks there and caught one glimpse of the giant otter before it swam off. This was the animal I wanted to see, more so even than the jaguar which lords it over the dry land of this protected region and is even rarer.

Well it appeared it was not to be, our able guide took us on boat tours, walks through the bush, night safaris and horse riding but no sign of the elusive king. Not to worry though, we had been thoroughly treated- flocks of toucans, gracefully flying through the trees their oversized colourful beaks almost the length of their bodies (our favourite of the birds), howler monkeys that make an extraordinary noise like the wind ("I hate you"...nb boosh referrence), groups of cayman crocodiles that bask in the sun seemingly smiling at you by day, but lie mouths open in the water at night waiting for an unsuspecting fish to swim into their jaws before SNAP! it's gone, armadillos (ARMADILLOS!) scampering through the bush... And so much more.

They like their animals giant over here. Beautiful kingfishers the size of large seagulls that laugh hyena like as they circle. Tom says it's because they're happy it's mating season. Enormous jabberwocky stalks (actually jaburi but tomato, tomato), capibara- the world's largest rodents which are basically sheep sized Guinea pigs with webbed feet, and traditional red as well as midnight blue macaws way too big for your average pirates shoulder (arrrrr...)

But otter wise just a regular sized one - a great view of it too - and Tom says we're really lucky to have seen that out of the water. Who does this giant otter think he is anyway? I thought on our last outing to fish for the deadly piranha... I'm the king of this place I thought as I lifted my second piranha from the water and witnessed its razor teeth snap a twig with ease.. And then it happened.

"Otter!" said Tom, and about twenty metres up river there it was taking a plunge into the water and heading straight for us. It emerged just in front of the boat poking its huge head above water, staring at us, then plunging again. Its big this thing, Tom says something like 2 metres long. Just when you think it's all over it emerges again, swimming backwards away from us, looking us in the eye, bearing its teeth and letting out a strange, fearsome bark as if to say "come on then if you think you're hard enough" before finally disappearing underwater. I underestimated you giant otter. I am most definitely not hard enough. All hail the king of the pantanal waters!
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Gee on

Looks like an epic adventure guys...loving the comedy moments! Keep it coming!

Ben, Harmony and Leni Love on

Hey guys, hope you're having an amazing time! looking forward to reading all about it :-) Lots of the love from us xx

Kat on

Loving the updates guys, looks like you're having a great time, awesome photos! Take care and try not to lose anything else

Joanna davis on

Hi Guys
It has taken me a week to get back to you as I forgot my pass word (lost it) and couldnt seem to get back on. Any way loved the pics Tracie and all the animal stories. Bob seems to sit down and look glam alot!. All well here still hot and summery looking forward to more news . Love you loads xxxxJo

Linda and Eddie on

We are SO impressed, but we shall not be following your example for our next holiday. Keep blogging, it's fascinating.

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