PERU
2003


"Amazon Snake Mystery"

Rio Huasaga, Loreto

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

We spent some time out on the Rio Huasaga, investigating the dense littorial vegetation along either bank that shrouded many metres of river and provides great habitat for semi-aquatic reptiles, that were, sadly, not hugely in evidence apart from the Marine toad (Rhinella marina). This is where the caiman shelter during the daytime but a film crew and a couple of boats was sure to scare them away.

 

Views of the Rio Huasaga upstream of Laguna Anatico.
Dense littoral vegetation extend far out into the river. Searching for herps in the marginal vegetation.

 

Marine toad, Rhinella marina

 

We also investigated the story of an anaconda attack at a place on the Rio Huasaga called Cocha Puego. A family travelling home in their canoe had been over-turned by something in the water and although the two females in the boat made it to the shore the two males, a man and a boy, cried out they would not swim, that something was pulling them down. They were never seen again and the villagers claim they were taken by a large anaconda.

We filmed a reconstruction of this story but I am far from convinced that an anaconda was to blame when simple underwater currents, submerged tree snags, cramp or simple exhaustion could have led to the drownings and any number of factors resulted in the failure to find any bodies afterwards in a relatively remote, under-populated region with no search and rescue services available. When looking for an explanation the simpliest is usually the correct one.

And when time permitted, Lutz and I went fishing.