Tell Us About the Greatest Animals You've Met On Your Travels



I wasn’t traveling, but I saw a pretty large bird hanging out near my home. Late October, 2017. What surprised me the most about seeing this beast was that I’m absolutely NOT USED to seeing large birds outside of places where large birds can be expected. Every now and then there are falcons and eagles sitting on the building antennae (probably taking a break from migrating) and occasionally being chased away by ferocious hummingbirds, but I’d never seen something like this. I’ve been told that it’s a jacu.

(There’s a companion picture to this: a cat who was channeling its inner panther and seemed too keen on attacking this unusual bird. I didn’t want it to get hurt by the cat so I stood in the cat’s way until the bird flew away.)


A+ wattle on that little guy.


I could not recommend a trip to Chernobyl highly enough! I’ve been thinking about it ever since - it’s left me with a lot of thoughts about history, politics, technology, nature…

It’s still very possible to see animals there - just make sure you don’t go during an intense heat wave like I did! You might even have some luck going in the dead of winter (as I heard my guides have done). The dogs were still so tame and friendly, but I can see how stealthy cats would go feral! I actually read a book that touched on what would happen to pets and the rest of the world if we left - it’s called The World Without Us - and I guess Chernobyl is a real world, small scale example of that. Also, I love those pet names too!

Do let me know if you go and I’ll be sure to introduce you to the good guides who are actually knowledgeable about the place!


Great photo ! , that’s a species called a dusky legged Guan , they are really quite tame at Caraca. They are pretty good for the health of the forests too , ecologically speaking, because they eat lots of fruits from different tree species and disperse the seeds through their poop.

Well done for keeping the cat away ! , the guan wouldnt have stood a chance and cats are little devils when it comes to massacring biodiversity.

Where abouts are you based in Brazil ?


I live in São Paulo city, capital of the São Paulo state. I found it weird to see that bird because large birds are really uncommon in the city (occasionally there are vultures, or, as I mentioned, falcons and eagles). I can see peacocks when I go to a park, but guans? I’d never seen one of these before. So maybe the one traveling was the bird.

And thanks! I’m aware that domestic cats, despite being considered cute little pets by humans, are a menace to birds and wildlife as a whole. And a rare-ish bird like that is definitely above a cat I see everyday in the “protect the rare beast” priority list.


That’s cool to hear , I’ve lived in Sao Paulo state and will soon be living there permanently , needless to say I absolutely love SP both the city and state.

Totally agree , it is kind of weird to see a guan walking around. Personally , I’ve only seen that species of guan in Minas Gerais but I have seen Jacutingas in areas of Sao Paulo state. In what part of the city did you see it ?

There are a couple of areas on the outskirts where there are habitat conditions that would be ideal for them. I know that in Cantereira and the botanical garden where there are areas of Atlantic forest there are quite a few species of birds and mammals. There are even some species that are quite suprising to find around urban environments like sloths, armadillo , monkeys and ocelot.

I even heard that there are apparently a couple of sloths that live in Triannon park over by the MASP but I have no idea whether that is true and I never saw any there despite looking for them , there is just too much traffic and people around so it might just be an urban legend.


Its definitely one of those places which just have this kind of haunting and unsettling aura about it for sure.

Its one of the ultimate abandoned settlements and I bet the ambiance and atmosphere of the place is unrivaled. I mean there are lots of 18th /19th century towns and also ancient archeological ruins like Pompeii and Tikal around the world but Chernobyll is totally in a class of its own because of its size and just how recent its abandonment was. Also just how quick nature has reclaimed the area is just… Incredible … it really is , thats why it is so unsettling I guess.

I love that book , and it really floored/ scared me a couple of times just to consider what our possible legacy as a species will be and how quickly everything will crumble and disappear if we do dissappear. It was an incredibly humbling read for sure.

I will hopefully take you up on that offer one day , as I would really like to see some of the wildlife of the zone.

A question , weren’t you worried about any risk of radiation sickness or something like that?


I saw it at Lapa de Baixo, which is near train lines and close-ish to the Tietê river. It’s not the greenest area of town, but it’s not completely gray with concrete, either.

I’ve never seen sloths, armadillos, and ocelots in the city, but I love watching out for birds and I DID see monkeys in some of the parks (a few in the Cantareira park, when I was doing that trail that goes uphill, and some in the Água Branca park)! They weren’t large monkeys, they were those adorably tiny little monkeys. I don’t have pictures because they were hard to photograph. They’re fast and camouflage themselves really well.

I’d never seen the sloths in Trianon park, but I’d never heard of them. I tend to pay more attention to the spiders in that park when I go there.


Oh right , well there is an ecological park in Tietê which has lots of animals that were rescued and cant be returned to the wild , monkeys , tapirs , coati etc.

I’ve only seen sloths in the Botanical gardens but never armadillos and I’m yet to see an Ocelot although I am going to try to observe some next year.

From what you describe I think the monkeys must be marmosets , they are meant to be in a lot of the parks and some of them are a pretty destructive invasive species. I’ve only ever seen them in the park of Butantan and in Sorocaba city.

Yeah , It strikes me as odd that sloths would be in that park too , I’m sure the people who told me are confusing it with somewhere else. What kind of spiders ?


I’ve seen lots of animals around the world in my travels, but one of the more unusual/unexpected was Cody the Lesser Kudu in the Matthews Mountain Range of Kenya. Cody was a young male not yet paired with a mate and was quite fond of hanging around the lovely, small safari camp, Sarara. He accompanied us on hikes, lounged around our tents and in general just seemed to enjoy some human company. The folks who ran Sarara said that once he got old enough to seek a mate, he’d be gone, but we sure enjoyed his company while he was there!



I’m not exactly sure what kind of spiders. I’m not a specialist in them, I just enjoy seeing their webs and occasionally watching them weave new ones. They were definitely larger than most domestic spiders, as expected, but I can’t recall the details about them. I know for sure that they weren’t spiders with yellow thread.


What a beautiful animal ! , I honestly can’t understand how some people can deny that individual animals have their own temperaments


This lonely little guy seems like a heartwarmer!


You’re right - those sorts of abandoned places are just so fascinating from an anthropological and biological perspective alike! Fingers and toes crossed that you’ll get to Chernobyl, and don’t worry about the radiation - the most radioactive exposure you’ll have as part of your trip will likely be from the plane!


I really hope so , it would be fantastic to see it and to savour the atmosphere , its utterly unique. For the near future though is to fullfill a lifetime dream of seeing wild gray wolves.


I honestly didn’t think that animal was real until you posted that explanation!


Baby Snapping Turtle

Early this past Summer we had very heavy rains in central Virginia, USA, which caused unusual flooding. Nearby Moore’s Creek actually ran backwards for a while, jumped its high banks and became a lake.

I was walking a trail near the creek a week or so later, searching for flowers to photograph and looking at the strange new terrain after the flooding subsided. Because something else made me pause, I noticed this little baby snapping turtle on the trail. Near a rapidly diminishing puddle, I think he was stranded by the flood and couldn’t find his way back to the creek.

It has always been on my bucket list to see a snapping turtle in the wild, so I was thrilled about that to begin with. The absolute prehistoric presence of the turtle immediately impressed me. And this is probably the largest I would want to encounter anyway, since the adults are huge and have EXTREMELY intimidating biting skills!

As you can see by the bike tire tracks (there are also lots of dogs on the trail), it is amazing the little turtle survived that long! However, he was immobile and there were one or two flies on him, never a good sign. I didn’t have my phone so couldn’t research the best place to move him to, so I just put him in a bag and took him back to the creek. I put him about 8" from the water, near boulders, and under a stick for protection.

After moving him, I was even more sure that he was a goner. He had not moved much at all even being handled and put down, and there were still flies. He was not moving at all. I didn’t like thinking of him just slowly dying, but I’d helped and protected him as best I could. I went over to look at something else for few seconds, and when I returned, I was shocked and pleasantly surprised to see that he was gone with no trace! I hope he made it.


Adding a couple photos of Two Socks, the scruffy street dog my wife and I encountered in Santiago, Chile in 2008. I imagine he was perfectly happy where he was, but I do wish he could have come home with us.


Hooray! Glad to hear he likely made it! :turtle: