Pacarana or shrew oppossums?
Any specific suggestions for finding these creatures? I am heading to Bolivia in December and will be elsewhere along the Andes in future years. Thanks….mac hunter
I believe I also saw a family group of Pacaranas along Manu Road in 2011. Four of them crossed the road together just above San Pedro – two adults with two small young. Unfortunately, I recently began questioning whether they could have been Mountain Pacas. While I noted the tails at the time, I recall them being stubby and shorter than in the photos online (though I only saw the animals from behind). I’m about 95% sure of my sighting. (Do Mountain Pacas ever travel in groups? I have found very little information on them, and whether they can appear to have stubby tails.)
Pantiacolla runs a lodge at San Pedro on Manu Road that is less well known than the others in the area, but much less expensive. It is called Posada San Pedro. Woolly Monkeys are easy to see above it.
Mountain pakas are probably more likely as they are generally common along upper Manu Road. There are also agoutis and dwarf brocket deer.
If you are in Bolivia, you may try the road from La Paz via Palca to Lambate, Huara and La Plazuela. I found a DOR Pacarana near Huara in 1995 (now in the museum in La Paz). No idea how common they are in the area, but I also saw a Lesser Grison crossing the road there, so it may be worth making some night-driving on that road (very little traffic). Higher up, there are Andean Deer near Lambate and I have seen Dwarf Brocket Deer near Cotapata (along the main road to Coroico). Trapping small mammals tends to be fairly successful in these cloud forests (but not so the in the dry forests in the valley bottoms). For example, we collected several Akodon species plus Gracilinanus aceramarcae in Zongo Valley (n of La Paz).
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Here’s a paper about trapping shrew-opossums: http://jmammal.oxfordjournals.org/content/94/5/967.full
Finding them without trapping is difficult because they live in moist, mossy places where leaf litter doesn’t make much noise. You can either wait for an unusually dry spell, or devote a lot of time to searching. The most common species is Lestoros inca; it is regularly seen along Manu Road in Peru, and I’ve seen it in the forest below Tres Cruzes del Oro (one of the best places in Manu National Park for high-elevation mammals, easily accessible, but note that I was there 20 years ago). Caenolestes convelatus seems to be common in Rio Nambi (with a soft N) Nat. Res. in Colombia: I saw one in three days there. Never seen any in Bolivia or Ecuador despite some effort – if you see one, please tell!
Pacaranas are difficult; I’ve only seen one, also while working in Manu. This paper might be helpful: http://www.int-res.com/articles/esr_oa/n016p273.pdf