A Lizard, a Snake, a Moon, and some Birds

How’s that for an unlikely combination of things! But, this is Panama where unlikely things happen. This is just a bit of a day in the life of an expat in Panama.

There is a video at the bottom of the post – nothing to see but you can listen to the cocalacas sing while you look at the pictures.

I caught this baby iguana running out from under the washing machine to the side yard.


Then, I set out on the bike, heading southwest and then north to cross the highway and make a loop around towards the hills and back to town. I thought the hills and mountains were looking especially beautiful with the misty, hazy clouds covering their tops.


It is the dry season with no rain, so if you want to keep the plants in your yard happy you have to water them. I was out watering and saw something slide through the grass towards the wall and fence.


This is a baby Fer de Lance viper, one of the most dangerous snakes in Panama. It is said that the babies are even more dangerous because they don’t have control over the amount of venom they give when they bite, and just give you all they’ve got. This photo doesn’t show the head very well, but they have a very distinctive, large, angular head. I also recognize their markings, beautiful as they are, and kept my distance, using the zoom on my camera instead. The snake obviously didn’t want to be near me either, and as soon as it felt safe enough to move it took off.

I’ve talked about precautions many times, and being aware that anything could be hiding where you can’t see. Here’s another example of why precautions are important.

This snake encounter wasn’t a problem, the watering was done, se we prepared to go to a full moon event near Boquete. We set off with plenty of time to get there before dark, being totally unaware that there was some big event going on in Dolega. The traffic was at a total standstill, we could see a parade going through town, and we inched along as the sun set and the sky got darker and darker. Thankfully I had brought my tablet with Waze to help navigate and I had a good idea where we were headed, but I didn’t spot it until we had driven past. We had to drive on until we could find a turn around, drive south until we could find another turn around, and take another pass at it. By then some good friends were concerned and one went out to the road to flag us down so we wouldn’t miss it on the second try.

It was worth the trouble finding the event. It was really nice to see a lot of our good Boquete friends, and it wasn’t long before the moon made its way above the mountains and clouds. What a beautiful sight! I need to go back to this area because at the back of the property, there is a huge canyon with a river below. It looked beautiful in the moonlight, but I want to see it in the daytime too.

Later that night, the cocalacas (gray necked wood rails) had a lot to talk about in my neighbor’s yard. The first time I heard them I couldn’t imagine what was making those strange sounds!! Now I am very familiar with them, but I never tire of hearing them.

There is nothing to see, but turn up your sound so you can hear.

A day in the life of an expat in Panama. Life is always interesting!


About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
This entry was posted in bird watching, wildlife and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to A Lizard, a Snake, a Moon, and some Birds

  1. For those of you that do not know what different snakes look like, check out the Reptile Guide at http://www.expatimports.com, we ship anywhere in Panama.


  2. Hugo says:

    I used to like spiders, never hurting them, then one day, a Brown Recuse bit my leg, 40 hours later, they were considering amputation. You might want to reconsider leaving ‘Gods Creatures’ that can kill you, run around your yard unimpeded.


    • I worked in a wound care clinic in FL and I’ve seen what spiders can do. Not pretty. But, I have no illusions about ridding my yard of any of the abundant Gods Creatures, especially living right next to a large wooded area and a river. I think I’m better off knowing that any of them could be waiting to surprise me in that pile of leaves or behind that flower pot. Besides, I’ve never killed a snake and don’t know how and just my luck, that’s how one would manage to bite me.


  3. Sunni Morris says:

    Great moon shot with the clouds. What camera setting did you use?

    Hmmm, I wonder if there’s a simlar sight for snakes here in the US.


    • I set the camera on shutter priority, but don’t remember exactly what – maybe 1/2 second?
      I’ve never heard of such a snake thing in the US but I would think there would be something. I’ve never looked though.


  4. David says:

    Being a Mich. native and moving to Charleston S.C. I heard what sounded like barking at night. It took me months to figure out that they were simply green tree frogs which are everywhere here. Loved the audio Kris. Someday I’ll hear that in person.


    • It’s amazing what a little frog can do. One time in FL I heard something that sounded like a loud honking goose, and tracked it down to a tree frog no bigger than a tube of chapstick.


  5. I loves the sound of the birds too. Thanks for sharing!


Comments are closed.