Honduras Ecotourism Travel
Night walk in the rain forest
at Pico Bonito

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Nothing looks the same--and what's looking back?

Pico Bonito Lodge offers rain forest walks at night. I've walked many miles in rain forests, but never much at night, so I'm curious about what I'll see on the extensive trail system behind the lodge.

It's loud in the forest as choruses of tree frogs express their soprano satisfaction about the typical afternoon rain.

My guide, James, uses a headlamp to scour the trees beside the path and almost immediately locates a wolf spider, then a scorpion.

Not the cuddliest of critters but nevertheless interesting. With my headlamp at eye level, I pick out many small glowing eyes sandwiched in tree bark and among the leaves. The strangest creature I spot is a tailless whipscorpion.

  

James motions me over to a large white object resting on a leaf: An anole that sleeps in the middle of leaves to thwart snakes that tend to check for edibles only at the edges.

Speaking of snakes, they're a common sight on night walks.

Coming to a stand of large yellow heliconias (sometimes called lobster claws), James hopes to find an eyelash viper.

The yellow snake likes to blend in with the yellow heliconias as it waits for frogs to come to the water-filled lobster claws. It's not there tonight.

James speculates the bright moonlight is keeping many creatures hidden; the problem is if it's easy to see, it's easy to be eaten.

  

As we search, we find line after moving line of leaf-cutter ants lugging greenery up to five times their size.

James relates how one night he and a couple from the lodge heard loud rustlings of an animalóbut what? A jaguar?

Everyone froze and suddenly the creature shot straight at the frightened woman, who expected to be attacked by a jaguar.

She was relieved when only a harmless armadillo ran between her legs.

He didn't say how relieved she became.


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