Skip to content

The Reptilian Interloper


    I might say it was simply one other mundane morning on the remedy ponds in SW Tobago – however this wouldn’t be true regardless of how handy the framing could be to set the stage for this put up. A number of migratory species had been round – I’ll contact on these in a subsequent put up – however all was quiet and calm however.

    Geese and grebes paddled round, Anhingas swam beneath the floor, often showing with a skewered fish. A Black Skimmer drifted from one finish of the pond to the opposite, oftentimes coming into such proximity that the swishing of its feathers was audible. I had been visiting the ponds for the geese, however stayed for the final atmosphere.

    An Anhinga tosses her freshly caught breakfast.

    Black Skimmer

    Two immature Least Grebes method an grownup, asking kindly for a snack.

    After about an hour, I seen an unfamiliar presence: a Spectacled Caiman! These small crocodilians pose no menace to people, however I had by no means earlier than seen one in these ponds. Certain sufficient, I puzzled about their presence as there was ample meals obtainable – fish and aquatic invertebrates – however hadn’t seen one up till this specific morning.

    Because the caiman blinked its eyes and lay immobile within the water, it turned obvious that I wasn’t the one one shocked by its presence. A Least Grebe started a tentative method, its vibrant yellow eyes affixed on the caiman. Slowly, it received nearer. And nearer. Was it going to waltz into turning into breakfast?

    Possibly the grebe had by no means seen a Spectacled Caiman earlier than? Maybe the chicken was making an attempt to get a more in-depth view, in order to reference the photographs of doable threats it discovered as a younger chicken? Oh, how the belongings you study at school very quickly vaporize as soon as maturity units in…

    My evaluation of the scenario was that the grebe made a really ideal-sized meal for the caiman. It appeared as if it was virtually the right measurement. As I used to be pondering this, making the calculations of caiman jaw measurement versus grebe roundness – the chicken all of a sudden panicked, as people do once they stumble upon one thing unfamiliar in the dead of night.

    As comical because it was, the caiman didn’t appear too amused by the entire thing, and commenced to lazily swim off towards the opposite finish of the pond. Which attracted extra consideration from the twenty-or-so Least Grebes within the pond. Adults and juveniles all surrounded the beast, whereas protecting a decent distance.

    Ultimately the caiman disappeared and equilibrium was restored. I spoke with another birders who additionally remarked on seeing the caiman for the primary time. Did I witness the initiation of the caiman into life on this remedy pond? I’ve seen the species talked about right here fortunately coexisting in different places, so I didn’t count on curiosity from both get together. However nature continues to emphasise the purpose that species usually are not people.