Friday, February 21, 2014


[Kyle]Our day was planed as a pretty easy one; a long lingering lunch that was really an excuse to use the restaurant’s wifi and a visit to the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute – well, the Punta Culebra part of it anyway.

From the STRI you can even see Begonia (along with all sorts of other cool things!)

The STRI occupies most of the land on Isla Naos, with the buildings and parking lot at La Playita carving space out on one edge. They focus on marine life, with tanks from the Pacific and Atlantic, and a beach area active with crabs, worms and birds. They also have a section of dry forest. Although small they do a pretty good job of explaining and recreating the various ecological zones in Panamá. We got to see the usual birds along with aquariums and touch tanks with rays, sea stars and even a moray eel.


The main attraction for us was a higher than normal density of hard to find animals like green iguanas and two and three-toed sloths. After all of that searching in Shelter Bay, we finally got a good look at these interesting creatures.

Yes, if you look closely, there IS a sloth in that tree

As we were leaving, I spotted a pair of them sleeping in the shade of a thick, leafy branch about 20 feet up. One of them suddenly stirred and started climbing. We figured he was looking for something to nibble on, but after a while, it seemed like his only motivation was a dogged determination to get to the next branch. As soon as he would reach his goal, he would spot the next branch over and start heading over there. For half an hour, we craned our necks upward to see him explore practically every part of the big tree. He would climb way out to the end of one bough and stretch as far as he could to reach the next one over. I swear I could see him wishing he could do a thirty-foot leap like a capuchin so he could get the whole tree explored in a minute.

This sloth really entertained us with what seemed like pointless climbing... YAY!

While we were there, Maryanne was able to follow up on some earlier emails and meet with the Director about volunteering for them while she is here {Maryanne: I’m very excited!}.


kate rodenhouse said...

Oh Maryanne, I'm so jealous! How exciting to volunteer at such a fascinating place! Love the sloth photos - how cool to watch one in action. Or uh, "action."

SV-Footprint said...

Hi Kate - I'll let you know how the volunteering goes; I think it will be both fun and good company for me. As for the sloths, this one moved a heck of a lot faster than we expected, but the do spend most of their time doing absolutely nothing, so when they do move it is a rare chance to spot them. I'm like a kid and grin and practically jump up and down when I do see one; very happy to have this wonderful experience.