The Wildlife in Panama is…Wild


Funny, in the first 37 years of my life living in Canada, the most exotic and obscure wildlife I think I saw was a praying mantis. I guess I’d seen a bear in the far off distance too, or it could have been a rock. Are Elk considered exotic or obscure? I came face to face with one of those too. I was walking to work at a hotel one early winter morning in Banff. I was in full stride, walking like most Canadians in winter – which means your chin, mouth and nose are tucked into your scarf, your toque is pulled down past your eyebrows, and your head is down so you don’t get the cold wind in your eyes. Oh, and you’re slighting shrugging your shoulders.

Anyway, as I strolled down Banff Ave, I saw something out of the corner of my only exposed body part, which was conveniently my eye, so I looked up and over (oh, and in order to look up and/or over, your whole body has to move so you don’t untuck your chin/mouth/nose, because once that falls out of your scarf it’s never the same).

Anyway (numero dos), as I looked up, I came face to face with an Elk. I looked at her and she at me.  That’s the way that I want it to stay and I always want it, to be that way for my…Elk friend. Eh-eh-eh-eh-elk friend (that was from Lola by the Kinks for all you younglings).

Anyway (numero treis)…that was probably the closest encounter to a wild and dangerous animal I’d ever had! Unless you count the following:

  • Walking through a farmer’s field where a bull was present, but 200 metres away and having sex with another cow, maybe even another bull – not that there’s anything wrong with that!
  • Catching toads and baiting hooks to catch fish with said toads, and conversely, touching fish caught with said toads!
  • Once, in grade one we went to the zoo, and a duck was up against a fence, and the teacher said not to put your hands inside the fence, but I didn’t listen and I stuck my finger in the fence, and the duck bit half my finger off and all the kids starting calling me 9.5 because I only have 9.5 fingers…Okay, I totally made up the last part about losing half a digit, but the little bastard did nip me!

Anyway (numero cuatro), we had been in Panama for no more than ten days (that’s 10 for those of you who can’t visualize text as numbers), and we get our first up-close glimpse of…a baby boa. Now there’s some dangerous wildlife in Panama!Boa on a stick

Now, living in the remote wilderness of Canada, I’ve seen my fair share of wildlife…Shit, wait, I just rambled on about how I hadn’t seen jack-shit for wildlife didn’t I. Well, okay, so the biggest snake I think I’ve ever seen was a garter snake about a foot and a half long. That’s 1.5 feet for those who can’t visualize text as numbers, and about 45 centimetres for those on the metric system. I think the snake was probably dead too…or sleeping…on the sidewalk…in the middle of the day.

Anyway (numero cinco), I was too much of a wuss to touch the baby boa. I watched our property owner grab it with a stick and bring the little guy down from the rafters and then take him outside.Boa on a stick2

He moved pretty slowly (the snake, not the owner), and he didn’t look like he wanted to bite anything, or be moved for that matter, but he had to go. Now I’m sure I’ll get some flack about baby boa not being very big, and how harmless boa’s are, but tell that to the cat that got eaten by a boa last week near Playa Arenal!

Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur food…Bazinga.

Later dudes.

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