P IS FOR PECCARY

I thought it was about time for a story from my Peru trip last year, don’t you? It was on the motorized canoe heading to my accommodation that I saw my first wild animal in the Peruvian Amazon (ok, I may have seen a bull ant first but what kind of crappy story is that?).

The boys cut the engine and we drifted a little closer to the banks of the Tambopata river, when the guide hushed us and pointed to the long grass on the bank.

I stared at the grass. I stared at the guide’s pointer finger which directed to the grass. I stared at the grass again. Everything was either brown or green. People started to fuss over their cameras and say things like “oh look, there it is”. This always annoys me. I don’t like missing out, especially in the Amazon.

Then it moved. All I saw was a brown furry butt waddling away from the bank and deeper into the long grass. It looked like the backend of an ROUS from The Princess Bride but more of a pig than a rat. Once it had disappeared, we were on the move again. “That was a peccary,” the guide said. He passed around an animal guidebook with a picture, which would have been similar to this…

This one is smaller and cuter than the one I saw, and remember I only had a view of its butt. I didn’t get to see a Peccary again until a few days later…

I was lying in bed surrounded by my mosquito netting and looking at the view outside. The rooms were open on one side except for a short railing (yep, only three walls), so every morning I would roll over and stare at the jungle flowers and trees while the howler monkeys and other birds and insects called.

I looked at the grass outside and saw a peccary on a casual morning stroll. It seemed so happy and peaceful. Then it hit me. I was lying in bed and there was a peccary two meters away. “Oh my god,” I said to myself. I wrestled to escape the mosquito netting around my bed and reached for my camera.

By this time the peccary has heard me and pooped itself. The peccary must have remembered self-preservation lesson #2: stay away from crazy tourists. I ran to the railing, leaned out and aimed my camera at it. For an animal with a fat body and short legs, it can run really fast and I have completely missed it. This photo turned out like many of my ‘animal’ photos. Heaps of trees and plants – no animal.

I’ll get you next time peccary! Next time!

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