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jueves, 2 de febrero de 2012

New records walking straight in the door

Actually to say “walking in the door” isn’t very accurate. Firstly because I am referring to 2 bats and an amphisbaena, neither of which walk! Secondly because we found the amphisbaena outside and the bats probably came in through the windows! What am I talking about? Maybe I should start at the beginning.

It was a few days ago that I was just settling down for bed when Jonny called out “Um Helen there’s a bat in my bedroom”
“That’s quite exciting” I thought and went over to the boy’s dorm to have a look. And sure enough there was a large bat with enormous ears sitting on the wall looking most perturbed. We decided the best course of action would be to try and catch it with a butterfly net and then transfer it into a pillow case, and low and behold we managed to bag it within about half a minute (another example of how easy things can be when there is no one around to witness it!). We waited until the next morning to identify it and were delighted to discover it was Lophostomia silvicolum; a new species for Laguna Blanca. Interestingly it is a high flying species (which probably explains why we haven’t caught it during our surveys) and has a preference for nesting in termite mounds. And, best of all, 3 days later we had another one fly into the house – I wonder if this species is like buses, can we expect a third?

However even more excitingly than the bats (or maybe I’m just biased because I love herps…) Karina caught a big fat amphisbaena by the water tank. Amphisbaenas are a type of fossorial lizard that have no limbs, scales over their eyes and move like an accordion. They are extremely difficult to survey as they spend so much time underground so this is a really great find for us. The one we found is one of the biggest species in Paraguay reaching up to 45cm in length!

I’m currently sitting at my window over looking the horse coral and I can see 4 of our burrowing owls all sitting in a row on the fence shaking the rain off their feathers and looking like they are quite enjoying the novelty of rain. They are getting so bold now; the other day one flew into our porch and grabbed a preying mantis from the light. Plus they are also learning to hoot now which is really rather sweet, especially as they are not quite there yet resulting in some rather amusing noises.

See you next time folks

Helen

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