Raleighvallen Rainforest School


Water System
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There are a huge variety of animals at Raleighvallen. We see many birds, fish and monkeys everyday. We would like to share photos that we and our friends have taken.

A small species of anteater called a southern tamandua

The tamandua is arboreal, spending most of its time in trees.  It digs ants, termites and bees out of wood.  It has no teeth and uses its tongue to lick insects from nests it has ripped open with its foreclaws. It is often found near rivers; this one was on top of a big rock in the middle of the river! Jean Emmons, in her book Neotropical Rainforest Mammals, says that, "they are accompanied by a dense cloud of flies and mosquitos".  This one had just had a bath and looked very clean.  He was gone when we came by several hours later.

Harpy eagle photo by Adam Reeck, 2004

We have seen a harpy before but never got a picture like this one.A very good friend of ours named Adam Reeck, who was visiting us, went walking one early morning (without me) when he came across this harpy having an iguana for his early morning breakfast. Harpy eagles are one of the largest eagles in the world. It eats monkeys, large birds, and other animals that live in trees. They make very big nests, grow to about 36 - 40 inches (1m) in length, and can fly at a speed of 50mph.


Kesi, Kesi

Arent these guys cute????? They live right here on the island but go off when in search of food which is just about everyday. When we have bananas or plaintains, we get to feed them. Its very cool cause they will come and take a piece of banana or plaintainout of your hand. The story that goes with this is they were once pets releases here in the wild. It's very enjoyable to feed them. Some of them are pigs and will keep coming and they also love to eat mangoes. So when the mango season comes which is right now they always eating mangoes and dropping them and sometimes jumping from branch to branch the make some fall. When you come visit bring your bananas and plantains for the monkeys if you want to feed them.

bush master

What do you think this is? We identified it as a bushmaster. They like warm places and are poisonous. They grow to about 2 meters long and have up to 400g of venom while a rattlesnake has about 40g. But obviously this is a very small one. The bushmaster is known to be very aggressive and will attack if disturbed. One of the monkey researchers was chased by one and now she will not go on that trail. We don't see many on this island but we do see many other snakes especially when the water is high.  They come searching for dry land. 

photo by Harold Hodder

Frog nest

This is a frog nest, which a female has carefully made in the sand close to the water's edge.  The nest are usually built so that when the eggs become tadpoles they can easily get into nearby streams. They can be found  just before the short rainy season starts, usually in early December. When the eggs hatch the little tadpoles dig through the sand  and into the nearby water. This way aquatic predators like fish can't get them before they even hatch. We collected a few for our aquarium which became tiny frogs.

caterpillar that looks like a nudibranch

There are lots of different caterpillars but this big one is easily seen when if falls from a tree. If you touch the hairs on this one it will make you itchy. The monkeys like the taste so they carefully brush the hairs off and then enjoy eating them. 



Tarantulas are very elegant when they walk.  They move each leg carefully as though they are dancing slowly.  They can get very big.  This one was about four inches across.  If you are very gentle you can pick one up.  Taratulas make web nests from which they venture out to hunt for their prey.


In the middle of the Central Suriname Nature Reserve, Amazonia, South America