Rainforest adventure 7: Caiman catching

P1030249Today we are leaving Karanambu for Caiman House, Yupukari. The 1 hour journey is undertaken in the old 4×4 on a path that is barely visible and obviously hardly used. Vehicles are uncommon here.

Caiman House is a field station for ecological research and a guest house for travellers, researchers and students. There were 3 students in attendance whilst we were there, one from Chicago studying the jaguar population, a volunteer from Massachusetts helping with the river turtle project and a PhD student from Oxford studying social anthropology.

2013-04-08 14.41.07We had 2 huge rooms complete with ensuite facilities and hammocks outside. After lunch we headed out in the 4×4 with our guides.

It was scorching hot in the early afternoon sun as we made our way to see the giant anthills which were dotted around the landscape. They were very impressive at over 3m tall with some quirky shapes to them.


There were numerous small birds flitting about. We were fortunate to see a burrowing owl standing on the top of an anthill with another one peeping out from the bottom.

We stopped to watch the sun set which was an amazing visual experience.

Yupakari skyline

We watched as the bright glowing orange ball slowly crept down the horizon with its rays spread out before us. The speckles of light seeping through the edges of the clouds made them look a vivid crimson colour. The whole process took about 7 minutes!

After dinner we were going out with the crew to catch caiman. One of the projects at the field station is understanding the black caiman natural history and ecology. We were going to observe caiman being captured and assist in data collection while caiman are weighed, measured, sexed and tagged.

Being out in the dark (as mentioned in my earlier blogs it is pitch black) with caiman swimming did make me slightly apprehensive!

After being well DEETed up and covered in long sleeves tops and trousers we headed off in the 4×4 to the river where a small wooden motorised boat was waiting for us.

With the water being low, it was easy to spot the caiman in the dark – you could see their eyes!

Guyana caiman 4 printing

The crew were in another boat. A long stick with a noose at the end was used to capture the caiman. The first one escaped and the second one thrashed about in the water for 10 minutes before getting tired and was moved to the nearby sandbank.

Guyana Caiman catching

Tape was placed around its mouth whilst data was collected. The whole process took about 30 minutes. It weighed only 36kg and was 2.4m in length. Sadly, it was not a healthy thriving caiman. After all the measurements were logged it was released.

We decided not to continue as the light from the torches attracted an abundance of bugs and mosquitoes. They seemed particularly attracted to my eldest who ended up with a number of bites.

We headed off back to base for some rest before a 5.30am start the next day.

After a cup of tea we set off at 6 am to walk down to the oxbow lake. There were 2 dugout canoes waiting for us and we spent the morning on the lake. It was tranquil with the only sounds coming from the birds and animals. In abundance were capuchin monkeys, ringed kingfishers, green ibis, ospreys, parrots, herons….If I think of what paradise might look like, I believe this would be it !

2013-04-08 11.35.21

The rest of the day was spent looking around the village, at the river turtles and then making the journey back to Karanambu. Here the airstrip was a clearing and the waiting lounge, a shed.


Our 12 seater plane was on time and we headed back to Georgetown where we spent a couple of days exploring.

We made our way home via Barbados where we stopped off for a few days.

If you want to see nature in its purest form, then get off your armchair and see it in its natural pristine state. Visit the Land of the Giants and you will experience an adventure that is truly unique and see Mother Earth in its glory  

We travelled with Wilderness Explorers

This blog is a series of blogs capturing my adventures in the Rainforest:

Rainforest adventure 1: Kaiteur and Orinduik Falls 

Rainforest adventure 2: Shell Beach and the Turtles

Rainforest adventure 3: Rockview, savanah and fly catchers

Rainforest adventure 4: Iwokrama, Sankar the caiman and  howler monkeys

Rainforest adventure 5: Atta Lodge, spider monkeys and the Canopy walk

Rainforest adventure 6: Karanambu, Giant anteaters and Otters



About verawoodhead

I'm an executive coach, leadership facilitator and learning & development consultant working with managers and leaders to develop the skills and behaviours to inspire performance and drive results; achieve promotion ; make successful career changes, be resilient and thrive at work. Within organisations, I help to facilitate better conversations, design learning interventions which deliver practical and lasting solutions aligned to business strategy and goals. Connect with me on Twitter @verawoodhead
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