I love Colombia. I also love creepy, poisonous and potentially deadly creatures of all kinds. So being in the Colombian sorta-jungly mountain town of El Tigre, I’m getting to see a bunch of creepy, crawly, potentially dangerous (and some highly deadly poisonous) animals. There are also some not deadly; but just cool as shit creatures here too.
Take this first animal.
POISON DART FROGS
This is one of the many species of poison dart (or poison arrow) frogs that inhabit South America; called the Yellow Striped Poison Frog. Touching the backs of these creatures is enough to kill 10 humans in one shot. The dart frog’s derive their poison by eating toxic ants and insects in the wild, and secrete this poison through their backs. Since the deadly toxins are based on the frog’s diet, you can breed these frogs (and all poison frogs) in captivity without them being toxic (as long as you don’t feed them toxic insects.). Different frogs have different toxins; and this frog is not the most poisonous of all the species.
Though I’m not about to go touching one of these to see just how toxic it is.
Then there is this other amphibian –
THE CANE TOAD
When I first saw this I was like ‘WOW…That looks like one of those cane toads in Australia that secrete that poison stuff from there backs when you squeeze them”. Never thought about the fact that cane toads are not actually from Australia. Turns out, they are native from the Rio Grande valley in southern Texas, through Central America and into parts of northern South America (like Colombia).
This toad does secret a milky white liquid from its back that is poisonous if ingested. This toad is also what has sparked some great TV episodes of The Simpsons and The Family Guy. The milky substance contains bufotenin, which is a hallucinogenic drug…but this substance is only a tiny part of the mix of toxins that make up the frog’s back-milk. Actually licking the toads (or eating them or their tadpoles) will most likely just cause severe illness and death (but hey, you’ll be high as a kite while you writhe in pain and slowly die!)
These next creatures are not deadly at all. But once a year, they swarm, and you are very likely to choke on them if you attempt to breath, choke and get pretty grossed out that you just swallowed a
Termites are all over the Colombian woodland jungles.
But unlike in the states, these termites are huge and golden-colored. And they swarm. About once a year they hatch and swarm. They have these really fragile wings and take each other out while they collide around all nimbly-pimbly into each other. They aren’t dangerous; except to each other and the trees, but they do make a giant mess when the evening is up.
But if a million small bugs flying at your face isn’t your thing, how about ONE GIANT ONE:
I have no idea what species this is, all I know is that this moth is as big as my hand, and one flying at your face unexpectedly will freak you out. On the other hand, if it is just chilling on the porch, this moth is really cool to pick up and play with. Well, till it flies at your face again, and you go flailing your arms and screeching like a girl. (P.S. There are ones bigger than this too. I saw a couple moths that I thought were bats at first).
But if you don’t like Gigantor moths, how about this moth…
TINY ORANGE MOTH
The petite, orange moth, I just found amazing. I have not enhanced the color on this moth at all either. I also did not touch this moth. I’ve seen enough discovery channel to know that it’s just safer to not touch any brightly colored animal you see in the jungle. I wasn’t risking touching even this moth once I found out about the poison dart frogs.
I’m good. Thanks.
There are also some pretty creatures I saw in Colombia..like
There are some beautiful, vibrant butterflies in Colombia. This is just one of the only butterflies I got a photo of. I’ve never seen such intricate designs on the wings of a butterfly as I have in the above photo.
This amphibian is just amazing. I have not been able to find out the actual name or species, so if you know, I’m all ears. All I know is the following photos are all of the same type of frog (the bottom two of the same frog)
As you can see, they change color. The last 2 photos are of the same frog about 3 minutes apart. No one could tell me the real name of the frog, just that, “They show up in winter and sleep on the walls”. And they do just that. You walk outside, and there is a frog sleeping vertically on the wall. And they change color. I like things that change color.
Also, these frogs are safe to hold.
The next awesome animal is an
Ok, you are like, “What? A locust?”, but I have never seen a locust before, so I think they are cool. They look like little grasshoppers, but use their front feet as tiny hands. I watched this one, I think bathe itself. I don’t know. But I think they are cute. And I love its green eyes.
And I am showing you this harmless little locust to lull you into a false sense of security before I spring the next awesome animal on you…the
Equis is the local name for this snake, which is a type of pit viper, who is highly venomous, aggressive, and lives throughout the countryside of El Tigre. These snakes have huge fangs, grow about 6 feet long (2 meters), and are highly deadly (some of this due to the distance to get to antivenom in rural communities).
These snakes attack for no reason, and a bite commonly results in loss of the bitten limb. Locals claim a bite can quickly cause you to be unable to breathe (due to hemotoxin in the venom). Either way, even with quick antivenom, it is common to still loose a limb as the venom causes necrosis.
Basically, seeing these is awesome. I never want to get bit by one.
The last creature I have to show you I have no idea what it is, so I am just going to call it the..
I don’t know what this is, but I am in love with it. It’s long, thin, winged, clings to walls, has eyes on the sides of its face, and has giant fanged jaws of terror! (Seriously, what the hell are those things?)
If anyone happens to have any clue what this bug is, please tell me. I am dying to know. It is just a giant ball of awesome!