Monday, February 9, 2009

La Selva

By Katharine and Graham

It was night. We were walking through the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador with only a flashlight to guide us through the darkness. Without street lights it was hard to see. Trees loomed over us casting scary shadows in all directions. We heard screeches, clicks, squawks and croaks as we walked. The trail thinned. We tripped over logs. The guide spotted something that could give you nightmares. It was a six-inch insect called a spiny lobster. It was brownish-red and had a pointy rear. It is the biggest insect in the rainforest.

With so many bugs in the rainforest, it's amazing to see the biggest one. For now it is the biggest, but new bugs will be discovered, some very small and some massive. We walked on. Bats flew overhead and insects crawled at our feet, making us jump. It was scary. Suddenly, the guide stopped. He said he smelled jaguar. We all went quiet. Maybe we would spot one. Our luck failed. We knew it was too good to be true. Later on we came across a tarantula the size of a baseball. It was brown and black and camouflaged with the trees. We thought it would crawl off the tree and onto one of us.

The next day, we were paddling in a big canoe in search of the anaconda our guide had seen before, when a big splash nearly tipped the boat.We were really startled. The guide said it was a manatee. Later we found the anaconda in a hollow tree. It was 23 feet long and as thick as a man's waist. Our guide knew it was that big because he had seen it out of the tree. Anacondas are one of the world's largest snakes. They constrict their prey and then swallow it whole.

To be able to see all the animals that we saw, people need to stop cutting down the rainforests. If all 3.5 billion acres of rainforest are cut down, the world would be an entirely different place: The climate would change, there would less food, and tons of animals would go extinct. All this could happen in just 40 years. The rainforest gives us 80% of the food we eat, including rice, cloves, pepper, bananas, peanuts, yams, oranges, cinnamon, sugar, onions, vanilla, pineapples, lemons, and coconuts. They also provide lots of medicines. Why would anyone want to chop them down?

Sabias Que:

50% of Earth's animals live in the rainforest.

Rainforests act as an air conditioner; they store and absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen.
More than 20% of the world's oxygen is made by the Amazon rainforest.

You can help save the rainforests by recycling, buying reusable bags, and storing food in reusable containers; in winter, turn down your heat and wear a sweater, and don't leave water running when not using it.

Spiny lobster. Best served a la meuniere.

Tarantula, up close and personal.

Pygmy marmoset, smallest monkey in the world.

16-foot anaconda, the smaller of the two we saw.

Ain't bad. In fact, tastes like lemon pie. Lemon ants. Yum!

1 comment:

Therese Mageau said...

Hey! Peter and I licked the fanny of green ants in the Daintree rain forest in Australia -- tasted like Lickemade (see if your mom or dad knows what that is)