The tegu cooperated for an unreasonable length of time, as Mike and I took turns nudging our kayaks into the vegetation to get ever-closer photos of the lounging lizard. When we were satisfied with the picture-taking, Mike suggested that we might be able to catch it to bring back for others to admire. This seemed worth trying, so I nudged my kayak even a little bit closer and started leaning lizard-ward. But even this lazy lizard had limits, and that was enough to spook it into abandoning its perch and diving into the water below.
So we continued our kayak journey back to the field station, one of us on each side of the river to best notice any more interesting wildlife that we might chance upon. About five minutes later, I was thinking how it was sad that I hadn't managed to catch the tegu, and how I should have waited for Mike to try to block its exit path before making my move, when my eye happened to glance down at a little floating vegetation just to the left of the kayak. And what should be sticking up from that very floating vegetation but the head of another, even smaller, Crocodile Tegu. Before my brain had fully processed what it was seeing, my left hand had snatched that little guy out of the water. I called over to Mike, laughing: "I caught a different one!" Neither of us had any sort of bag, so Mike graciously sacrificed one of his socks to hold the little tegu until we got back to the field station.
I never ended up taking photos of the little guy I grabbed, but Matt Cage took some beautiful photos, and generously allowed me to use them here and anywhere else I choose. The last photo above is one of his -- thanks Matt!
On the way back, I spotted another one in a similar position. This one was much more cooperative, and Matt and I both got decent photos of it from our kayaks. Both of this year's Crocodile Tegus were much larger than both of last year's.
- Bartlett, R.D., and Bartlett, P. 2003. Reptiles and Amphibians of the Amazon: An Ecotourist's Guide
- Dixon, J. R. and Soini, P. 1986. The Reptiles of the Upper Amazon Basin, Iquitos Region, Peru
- Duellman, W.E. 2005. Cusco Amazónico: The Lives of Amphibians and Reptiles in an Amazonian Rainforest