Further Up The Creek

Los Llanos – Venezuela

 Last post I’d rambled on about various trips of a lifetime, one of which included Venezuela, and that got me digging out some of the photos from that little foray. Clicking through them revived memories of sights and smells, particularly from our exploration of Los Llanos (Loz Yanos) with naturalist and all-round nut-case Roger Manrique aka ‘Croc Roger’. Now, this blog is supposed to be about living in Turkey but as our trip started here I decided to stretch a point and share some moments with you.

 Orinoco River patrolLos Llanos is a vast, semi-flat wetland area in Barinas Province. It’s criss-crossed by countless rivers that all feed into the mighty Orinoco River. Crossing one of the numerous bridges en-route to our base I was surprised (although I shouldn’t have been as the largest known oil reserves in the world are here) to be driving by a Venezuelan Navy base.

Due to flooding in the wet season all of the roads are raised up on dykes that have been constructed by digging out along each side. This means that during the dry part of the year great pools remain that attract the wildlife from all around. Observing at close quarters is ridiculously easy and when you add in river trips to seek out everything from anaconda to caiman to electric eels to iguana to piranha to giant river otters to pink dolphins to . .


three different Ibis in one shot

 What follows is a glimpse of what is in store for those intrepid wanderers who don’t take the plunge like Roger and stay sensible and fairly dry with fingers and toes tucked well in! Meet Pepe, an orphan Giant River Otter that was adopted by a local – he’s loving and inquisitive; fishing piranha for supper; getting wrapped around a male anaconda; three different coloured ibis in one shot and sunsets to die for!

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Roger catches young male Anaconda


Roger shows Anaconda’s teeth

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Anaconda demonstrates use of teeth!

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J demonstrates her skill at snake charming

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Emerald Kingfisher


Howler Monkeys (they really do!)

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J with ‘Pepe’ a young Giant River Otter


Piranha – this time . .


I get to eat you for supper!

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. . as the sun goes down

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. . the Iguana come out


 as handsome a vulture as I’ve ever seen

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domesticated bliss!

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a fishing eagle


Anteater at dusk

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beautiful reflections on water

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Alan Fenn, once upon a time up the Orinoco without a paddle!


18 thoughts on “Further Up The Creek

  1. I’ve heard that Los Llanos is a photographer’s paradise and now I know it’s true. But did J really hold a WILD anaconda?!

    1. She did! The self-same one that had a pop at Roger a few minutes earlier. She was so pleased to be in contact with the creature and loved the feel of it. This was a male which are much smaller than the females which can be absolute monsters.

    1. . . speaking of vultures picking over the bones, we hope to be in Iran in April at the Zoroastrian body disposal mounds where they do just that! Sweet dreams!

    1. . . by coincidence, this evening a young snake (a tiny little thing) has taken to sticking its head out from an electrical junction box in the kitchen above where J sits. I’m endeavouring to get a usable shot of it.

  2. Beautiful! I particularly admire the Iguana.

    I wish we had got more pictures in Guatemala but the camera broke when we sunk the canoe. And we failed to get many photos the first time we went to Mexico because we left the camera on the bus (only noticed when we wanted to photograph the spider monkeys on the roof). We shall not speak of the street bar in Plovdiv…

    I don’t think we are much good with this ‘not losing or drowning the camera’ business, so your photos are a real treat for us.

    1. . . the camera thing is covered under a sub-theory of ‘Sod’s Law’ called ‘Silly Sods Law’ 😉

  3. Alan, What great photos! We also went on a trip to Los llanos some years ago and it was as fabulous as you describe. During that trip I think we saw more different kinds of hummingbirds than you could ever imagine. And those howlers! Thanks for bringing back such great memories.

  4. Wow, what trip! And what a fantastic photographer you are. Love the iguana and the three different colored ibis. I also love the reflections on the water. But you have to stop publishing snake photos or I am going to stop reading your blog!! Just kidding but they scare me! J is so brave! You couldn’t pay me to wrap an anaconda around my neck. “Pepe”, on the other hand, looks absolutely adorable- I’d be willing to keep him as a house pet in my bathtub.

    1. Pepe just loved everybody – going the rounds to ensure everyone got plenty of petting opportunities. J described her experience of the anaconda as ‘one of the best of her life!’

    1. Hi Annie! Have some rather poor photos of orange and white ibis roosting in there many hundreds in some trees – they look like rows of xmas lights in the murk.

  5. These pictures are incredible. I feel like I’m watching Steve Erwin again. I wish I could hold a snake that big, but I do not want to swim with the piranha!

  6. Absolutely brilliant and really enjoyed reading all about it again, something one can never have enough of.

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