PERU
2003


"Amazon Snake Mystery"

Laguna Anatico, Loreto

Map of the expedition area around Laguna Anatico and Rio Huasaga.
click on map to enlarge and also see true extent of wetlands.

The Laguna Anatico is an expansive area of deep water. It certainly looks like it could hide some large anacondas but is one surfaced near the boat the last thing to do would be to dive in and grab it. Other creatures did surface near the boat from time to time, notably Pink river dolphins or Botos (Inia geoffrensis) one of two Amazonian freshwater dolphins and an endangered species.

 

Aerial view over Laguna Anatico. The Nenita moored at Alianza Cristiana.
The Nenita on the move. Running around in a skiff.
Pink river dolphins or Boto, Inia geoffrensis, in Laguna Anatico.
Views around Laguna Anatico.

Trying to capture a large, powerful and heavy anaconda in deep water could be suicide, it would coil about one's body and sink into the depths, able to hold its breath for much longer than the person in its coils. Grabbing anacondas by hand is fine in shallow swamps where the water is less than one-metre deep, but not here.

For that reason we decided to try some traps. We had the villagers build a floating trap which was baited with a chicken and left at the far end of the lagoon, away from the regular hustle and bustle around Alianza Cristiana.

Also at the far end of the lagoon we found a hollow tree which served as a fairly large bat roost, but which of the many species of bats was in residence was not possible to determine, but they almost certainly were not vampires.

 

Mark & Lutz with the floating trap. Close-up of the floating trap.
The floating trap trapped on a dead tree.

 

Unfortunately, despite all the hard work the trap was completely unsuccessful and ended up high and dry on a submerged branch, desposited there by lowering water levels.