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Yellow-Spotted Amazon Turtle

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Yellow-Spotted Amazon turtle post

The Yellow-spotted river turtle or Yellow-spotted Amazon river turtle is one of the largest species of South American river turtles.

This turtle can grow up to 18 inches and weigh up to 18 pounds. Females can be up to twice the size of males. They can live more than 30 years in captivity.
Their shell is black or brown with yellow spots on the side of its head. This turtle inhabits rivers, flooded forests or floodplain lakes. Its diet is based mainly on fruits, weeds, fish, and small invertebrates.

The females lay two clutches of eggs each year, each with 4 to 35 eggs in it. Eggs are laid during the peak of the dry season so that they are not washed away with the floods of the rainy season.

Fun Facts!

The yellow spotted Amazon turtle is a type of side-necked turtle, so called because they do not pull their heads directly into their shell, but rather bend the neck sideways to tuck the head under the rim of the shell.

The Dancing Lemurs (Verreaux’s Sifakas) of Madagascar

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dancing-lemur-verreaux-sifakaMadagascar, the Island of endemics, holds the record of endemic species. Of course, Lemurs are the most famous animals that inhabit the Island and the ones most travelers search for during a Madagascar Safari.

Of the 101 species and subspecies of Lemurs that exist (The number is approximated since scientists are still debating the taxonomy of the animal) one that most visitors expect to see in the wild during a Madagascar tour is the Verreaux’s Sifaka Lemur, also known as “dancing lemur”. They obtain this name thanks to the way they move on the earth, a very choreographed way of “walking” which is quite amusing to observe.

Details of the Dancing Lemurs

Their range includes the wet tropical rainforests to the dry spiny forests of Madagascar.

The Verreaux’s Sifaka Lemur is medium in size when compared to other species of lemurs and is the only one with hands and feet slightly webbed.

Their white body fur, black face, and big eyes make them quite attractive. They have a very long tail, up to 24 inches (longer than their body size!), that helps their balance when leaping from tree to tree, and when “dancing” on the ground.

They are about 18 inches in height when they reach maturity, and can weigh from 7 to 8 pounds with the males usually being larger than the females. They have dental differences that set them apart from other species of Lemurs.

The Verreaux’s Sifaka Lemur lives in mix groups of up to 12 individuals; 2 or 3 males, 2 or 3 females and their offsprings.

Dancing Lemur Verreaux´s Sifaka MadagascarThe female is sexually mature around the age of 3 and can have 1 (most of the time) to 2 babies per litter. The young hold on to the mother’s belly for 3 to 4 weeks and then ride on her back. It is entirely independent at seven months. Their average lifespan is 18 years.

They usually feed themselves twice a day; once in the early morning and then again in the late afternoon. They will rest during the remains of the day. They mostly eat leaves but also a variety of items including twigs, bark, nuts, and fruits.

A Vulnerable Species

The beautiful Verreaux’s Sifaka Lemur is a primate that has a grim future. Nowadays they are categorized as being vulnerable because of the quick destruction of their natural habitat that represents the major threat to them and all the lemurs in Madagascar. A good way to support this and other endangered species of Madagascar is visiting the Island. New Paths Expeditions includes in its Madagascar Expeditions the national parks and private reserves that have proven their conservation efforts success.

 

Download the Madagascar Safari Tour Booklet
Would you like to learn more about Madagascar,
the dancing lemurs and how to visit the island?

Download the free Madagascar Expedition Booklet now!

Komodo Dragon

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Did you know? Komodo dragons are one of the largest living lizards in the world. They have good vision and can see objects as far away as 985 feet, according to the Smithsonian Zoo. These scavengers have saliva laden with really deadly bacteria, and their bites containing the spit were potent enough to bring down a water buffalo!

Also, the Komodo Dragon is now regarded as venomous. The saliva is bacteria laden but is also a very complex mixture of proteins and enzymes.

Boa Constrictor

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Boa Constrictor Amazon Wildlife

Did you know? Boa Constrictors are powerful snakes and stealthy hunters. The main characteristic of this species is the method of killing, they kill their prey by constriction, or squeezing, it to death and after capturing its victim, the snake wraps its body around the prey, which dies by suffocation.

Meet the Indri Indri, the largest Lemur (Endemic to Madagascar)

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Indri Indri Madagascar Expedition Safari Tour

The marvelous Indris are a large species of Lemur -in fact, the biggest Lemur of them all, and like all Lemurs, they are believed to have come to the island of Madagascar from Africa around 50 million years ago.

Since there were no other primates to compete with, Lemurs soon adapted to live in a variety of habitats, producing a diverse range of species. Let’s remember that Madagascar holds the world record of endemic species, with 90% of the flora and fauna existing only in the Island.

Indri Indri Lemurs are arboreal animals meaning that they spend the majority of their lives eating, sleeping and mating high up in the trees.

As we already mentioned, Indris are the largest of all living Lemur species today. Their average height tends to be between 23 to 32 inches tall (Some recorded specimens reached over 40 inches!) a have a tail of just 1 to 2 inches (this is one of the main differences with all other Lemurs, which have tails that are around the same length as their bodies). The Indri has a beautiful dense coat of silky black fur with a varying number of white patches, depending on the geographic region (they tend to be darker in the northern parts of the Island). Their long hind legs aid them in leaping up to 33 foot between vertical branches in the forest!

The Indri is a social animal, living in small family units of between 2 to 6 individuals; that consist of a male and female pair with their young. They are unique among primates because it is the females who are the dominant ones.

Indri Indri Madagascar Expedition Safari Tour

Lemurs communicate through a series of eerie wailing calls both to unite families and also to mark their territory, which can be heard up to 1,2 miles away. They also have an excellent sense of smell that gives them the possibility to avoid confrontation with predators.

Female Indris reach sexual maturity at around 8 or 9 years old, and they have one baby each 2 or 3 years. The Indri infant clings onto the belly of it’s mother for the first few months of life when it then moves to her back. They get independent at the age of 8 months but usually remain with their mother until they are 2 or 3 years old.

Although adult Indris have been known to get well into their twenties, most live for 15 to 18 years.

The Indri is a herbivorous and diurnal animal, meaning that it spends most of its life looking for food during the daytime. Their diet is based on 32 species of leaves along with fruits, seeds, and flowers.

Although the exact number of Indris inhabiting Madagascar today is unknown, there are those who estimate the population at 10,000 individuals left in the wild. Other estimates are more concerning, claiming that there may be as few as 1,000 specimens left only. They are listed as an endangered species.

Indri Indri Madagascar Expedition Safari Tour

Despite the last, the Indri Indris are easily found at the Andasibe National Park, just three hours away from Antananarivo. During the New Paths Expeditions Wild Madagascar Expedition, we go on Lemur Safaris every day, and of course, we spend time looking for the Indri Indri. During our ten years exploring the Island of endemics, all our groups have been successful in observing this species in the wild. One can never forget the excitement generated by photographing Indris, and listening to their amazing, strong calls.

A journey through Madagascar is all about intimate encounters with wildlife, such as the Indri Indri. If you love wildlife and world exploration, we invite you to join us on a virtual exploration of the Islands of Endemics.

Download the Madagascar Safari Tour Booklet
Would you like to know more about Madagascar,
the Indri Indri and how to visit the island?

Download the free Madagascar Expedition Booklet now!

Magellanic Penguins from Patagonia May be the Most Loyal Species

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Magellanic Penguins - Patagonia - New Paths Expeditions

Magellanic Penguin couple looking at the sunset after a very active day. © Jorge Salas-New Paths Expeditions

The discoveries come following a 30-year investigation where specialists tagged 50,000 individuals.

Scientists also observed the “divorce” of couples, and findings suggest that the cause may be the inability to produce offspring. In such cases, Penguins looked for new life partners. Others believe that personality incompatibility may also be a cause.

Magellanic Penguin - New Paths Expeditions

Magellanic Penguin © Jorge Salas-New Paths Expeditions

An important finding of this research is the life span of the relationship of individual couples. Beforehand penguin relationships were supposed to last only ten years. The main finding of the recent research is a couple whom relation lasted over 16 years. These makes Magellanic Penguin the most loyal wild species.

Every year Magellanic Penguins depart on solo journeys of 200 000 miles. When southern summer arrives, they return to their nest. They find each other by the use of a unique call. The researchers utilized satellite following to distinguish the developments of the feathered creatures, demonstrating the extraordinary voyages, up to 2000 000 miles, that they take every winter up north, to the hotter waters of Brazil in the Atlantic, and Peru in the Pacific Ocean.

Magellanic Penguin - New Paths Expeditions

Magellanic Penguin © Jorge Salas-New Paths Expeditions

In the wake of rejoining and mating, the female typically lays two eggs. Couple members will alternate to guard the eggs while the other goes to the ocean to fish.

After they incubate, the parents spend a month tending to their young before taking off to their wintering territory.

Patagonia, a territory divided between Chile and Argentina, have the biggest population, with 1 700 000 estimated nests.

It is important to mention that their numbers have declined since the turn of the century because of oil contamination and falling fish numbers.

Other species that mate for life include Albatrosses, Vultures, and Angelfish.

New Paths Expeditions explores Southern Patagonia in detail with its Epic Patagonia Expedition. An award-winning itinerary that includes Megallanic Penguin colony visits during nesting time.

The expedition crosses Tierra del Fuego to encounter King Penguins and interact with Argentinian Gauchos and then boards the Estella Australis ship and navigate the Beagle Channel to Cape Horn. Then sails the fjords of the Darwin Mountain Range and the Straight of Magellan to Punta Arenas, from where you drive to Torres del Paine National Park and lodge for four nights at the upscale Explora hotel, the best location in the park for a complete exploration of its highlights and hidden treasures. Horseback riding, trekking, birdwatching, puma search and many other activities are included. Open bar during the Australis Navigation and while at Explora hotel. Extensions to Easter Island, El Calafate, Perito Moreno, El Chalten, Santiago de Chile and Buenos Aires are available.

Patagonia-tilted-mirror
Learn more about
Magellanic Penguins from Patagonia
with New Paths Expeditions

Download the free Patagonia Expedition Booklet now!

The very best included: Explora Hotel Patagonia

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The award winning Explora Hotel Patagonia is the only property located right at the heart of Torres del Paine National Park. This is why we selected this all-inclusive and upscale property to spend 4-nights during the Epic Patagonia Expedition. You can’t beat its location, services and vistas. Check the view from your room! (We guarantee mountain view rooms). Any other hotel will force lengthy drives every day to explore Torres del Paine National Park.

About the Expedition:

The Epic Patagonia Expedition explores Easter Island (Pre Extension), crosses Tierra del Fuego to encounter King Penguins and interact with Gauchos, navigates to Cape Horn through the Beagle Channel, Darwin Range and the Straight of Magellan before reaching Torres del Paine, the most beautiful place on Earth (4 nights at Explora Hotel Patagonia). It then continues to Perito Moreno, the most active glacier of the world. All this at an unbeatable price while escorted by a true Senior Leader with more than 100 expeditions in Patagonia. Departs in March, the month with the best weather, the ideal amount of daylight hours and perfect colors for photography.  Don’t miss it. Only 12 participants. Call us now at 888 832 7280.