Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bocas` Herps

Just a sample of the amphibians and reptiles found during a three-days birding trip to western Bocas del Toro province in the Caribbean slope of Panama, along with two "bocatoreños": Rafael Luck and Venicio "Beny" Wilson. I'm showing the herps more or less in the same order as they appeared in the field.

This Green Basilisk, Basiliscus plumifrons, was resting in the banks of a little creek beyond Boca de Yorkin. Notice its expressive golden eyes.
We found many absolutely-awesome Strawberry Poison-dart Frogs, Dendrobates -Oophaga- pumilio, in the wet interior of a forest patch close to the town of Las Delicias. These tiny jewels were very conspicuous while hopping and singing in the forest floor. The first photo gives you an idea of its actual size. You can check Beny's video here.Why Strawberry you might ask. Well, Bocas del Toro is well-known by the great variety of colours and patterns that this same species exhibits in each different island and in the mainland. Please take a look at the sand-covered individual that Gloriela and I photographed during our honeymoon some years ago in Bastimentos island (near the aptly named Red Frog beach).
Beny found this splendid Neotropical Green Anole, Anolis -Norops- biporcatus, while birding in El Silencio, close to Changuinola, in a forested area. I saw an additional unidentified species of anole, smaller than this one (about three inches-long not including the tail), brown and boldly patterned. It reminded me those commonly found in forests of the Canal Area in central Panama.
A great find was this Common Snapping Turtle, Chelydra serpentina, in the middle of the Two Tanks road in Chiriqui Grande. It was my first snapper, and what a creature! This form, which extends from Nicaragua to Ecuador is C. s. acutirostris. About the last photo, please don't try it at home. Beny moved it out of the road for its own safety, despite we knew about its irribitability... he still have all his fingers!

Our last, and certainly deadliest find was made by Rafael in a quick stop along the Oleoducto road at the Bocas del Toro foothills. In the photo you can appreciate the dorsal pattern of a young Fer-de-lance, Bothrops asper, or Equis ("X") as is better known by us. This viper is the most important cause of envenomations by snakes in Panama. Well, I hope you enjoyed this little collection of absolutely great creatures. Not bad for only a three-days visit, don't you think?


  1. Not bad at all - it's awesome! Keep up the great work with your blog - I don't know how you find the time to do so much birding and writing and doctoring. - Cindy

  2. Great shots. So many herps we don't see up here. Thanks for sharing with us!

  3. May I use one of your pictures for a project please

    1. Send me an e-mail to in order to help you