See wildlife! Right in your living room!

So I forgot to share that yesterday, as I was using the little girls tree in the forest, a short-eared dog ran in front of me. Not a dog with short ears – a short-eared dog. It’s apparently very rare to see one. And I got to see one very well, mere feet from me, with my pants down.

Last night, as I was sitting in my room doing some data management, a bat flew into my room. I had a big window open and there were nice tasty mosquitoes and moths flying about. When I first saw it fly in, I thought it was a big moth. But then I realized, once it hit one of the corners of the room and went “thwap!”, that it was, in fact, a bat.  So I stepped outside (the big window is right behind the couch where I was sitting) and waited for the bat to do a dozen circles or so of the room before it found the big open window again.  Not a big deal, but the “oh crap! that’s a bat! how cool!” moment got my blood up a little bit.

I’ve also had multiple frogs in my room. They’re easy to chase out, however.

Then this morning, at around 4:30am, I heard a loud metallic crashing noise in my room. It turns out the mouse that I suspected was sharing my quarters with me, had sprung the trap and was proceeding to climb up the wooden dresser that the TV is on. I tried to make noise so that this very large mouse would scurry away, but it really didn’t seem to care. It was trying to jump from on top of the TV, over a gap over a foot or two wide, to the top of the minifridge, which was serving as my mini fridge.

The little mouse went for it, but didn’t make it.  And it looks like the little guy injured himself too.

After some running around and trying to flush him out the front door,  I finally got to lay back down to go to bed.  But it was already 5:45am and I’ve been waking up at 6:30 or so to go out into the field.  Needless to say, today we didn’t leave until just before 8am.

So we headed down the road to Infeirno, a little community by the river about 20km from town.  Around 9am, we were trucking along and I noticed that a plastic bag was in the road ahead. But it wasn’t moving like a plastic bag. It was moving kind of strangely.

Then we got up close to it:

It was a very young 3-toed sloth trying to cross the road!  Poor little guy must have been trying to cross since the early morning.  So Richard and I devised a way to help the little guy (or gal) get over to the forest area on the other side of the dirt road.

It seemed very happy to climb on to the rope, and it was very cool to see it just looking at me.

But then Richard got a little bit carried away, and didn’t take the guy to the side of the road immediately. The little sloth took a swipe or two at Richard with those long claws. I thought sloths were slow, but this little guy moved fast when he decided that Richard was a threat.  So then we put the guy on the ground near the base of a tree on the other side of the road.  Hopefully he doesn’t end up being a snack for some other animal, just because some jerk humans slash-and-burned half most of his habitat and put a big wide road through the middle of what was left.

We made it to the river down in Infierno. It was around 98 degrees out, and part of me wanted to just jump right into the water to cool down.

But I didn’t. And instead we went to a little recreation area and got a cold bottle of  water.  I noticed that there were bottles hanging from the very top of the roof.

Apparently they hang bottles at the top of a roof when they want to keep the bats away.  The wind moving over the open bottles makes a low-pitched hum (as every little kid knows) and this annoys the bats so much that they don’t come anywhere near.  Neat trick, huh?

Okay, now a few more ‘seen about town’ things for you.

I’m not sure I’d like to take a ride in the tuk-tuk/mototaxi that has this written on the side of it

And I’m almost completely certain that this fellow is not part of the 2008 graduating class of Alton High School in Alton, Illinois, as his shirt says.

In further news, it still hasn’t rained once since I’ve been here, but it keeps getting increasingly hotter.  Heat index of 105-110 for the past few days.  I really wish it would rain. I need a break from the heat and I don’t want to feel guilty about sleeping late and relaxing a day.  Also, I have 10 full days left in Puerto Maldonado and really only about 2 days of work left. I think I’ve decided to spend at least one day kayaking on the river and maybe one day going to some “neat place” Richard knows of to do a little rock climbing.  Then I might spend another day in the middle of the jungle birdwatching. Then it will rain one or two days (I hope – it really needs to cool down).  But that’s only 5 days, plus a possible rain day or two. Goodness, how did I end up with extra time and not a lot to do?

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