It’s worth repeating: no matter how a snake moves , no matter how it stays still , it is living work of art. Put simply it doesn’t matter how a snakes body is positioned ; it is always intoxicatingly beautiful. Of course that can be said of nature in general but snakes are especially enchanting , hypnotic. To watch them move is a privilege, so seemingly calculated , an antidote to our insane and largely haphazard way of being. On my way back to Peru . More soon when I return. #liveyouradventure@eddiebauer
Haven’t gone through my archive in a long time. Photos and video are scattered across dozens of hard drives. Making an attempt - with the help of caffeine - to organize everything and stay on top of it moving forward. Anyways, came across this frame of me sleeping on the side of a volcano in Ecuador. Believe it was Illiniza Norte. I was 18 years old in this picture, innocent as hell, bright eyed, even somewhat quixotic. Annoying too. But damn I could fall asleep anywhere; now it takes me ages to fall asleep, my mind always racing about this and that. I remember I had a single backpack with 2 change of clothes and a camera bag. Didn’t meet another foreign traveler with less possessions than me. I hate to say it but those really were the days. I’d give up everything to feel how I felt back then. Photo is by my dear, old friend Ben Nicholson. @john_t._guillote was also on the scene but think he was throwing up from altitude sickness. #liveyouradventure@eddiebauer
Many of you saw this on the @natgeo feed but I feel compelled to share it here in the event some of you did not see it there. This is @harry__turner , a veteran (British forces) who is dedicating his life to protecting those who don’t have a voice, like this large red tail boa we found in the remains of a fire. Almost certainly a female , she would have been of reproductive age and at the top of her game. Her life came to an end early and in the worst of ways: she burned alive. What made it even harder was she was just feet from the river , a stones throw from survival. Please follow @harry__turner and @sjzwicker as well as @hojanueva to learn more about how you can help. And if you feel inclined, follow the link in my bio above to donate to the work Harry and others are doing in the Peruvian Amazon. #redtailboa#snek#snakesofinstagram#earthlens#amazon#rainforest#slashandburn#humandestruction and another thanks to @eddiebauer whose support gives me the freedom to pursue stories like this. #liveyouradventure
As promised, here is a photo of the same species of boa you saw dead on @natgeo , the one burned by the fires we visited in Peru several weeks ago. This little girl however is alive and well - somewhere in a protected jungle where she will grow strong and fierce and play an important role in the symphony of life that is the amazon rainforest. Her name - for the short time she was with us - was Matilda and in this picture she is taking refuge in the hands of my favorite hand model @paulrosolie , who at this very moment is in @incredibleindia scouting for our next scales and skin excursions. #boa#redtailboa#snakesofinstagram#earthlens#scalesandskin#liveyouradventure@eddiebauer
Protected areas , like national parks, are far from perfect. But when created in conjunction with local / indigenous people they are one of the best tools we have for protecting wildlife, like this gorgeous black skinned parrot snake (one of my favorite species) that lives on land protected by Peruvian non profit @hojanueva as well as by @sjzwicker and @harry__turner who dedicate themselves to purchasing land in this area so snakes like this don’t meet the same fate as the tortoise you saw 3 images back.
It seems to me that no matter what way a snake moves or rests - it is striking, beautiful, provocative. Humans by contrast are awkward creatures, and must pose just so to transform into living art. Snakes are always living art. Yes the colors and countless adaptations are all extraordinary, but nothing stops me more than the fact that at every second they take your breathe away. @paulrosolie@eddiebauer#liveyouradventure
Tortoises and insects weren’t the only animals we found in the aftermath of the fire. We discovered at least a dozen lizards but not a single amphibian, most likely because they were completely cremated in the fire. To be honest, that we found the remnants of any animals is surprising considering the temperature this fire would have burned at. We can’t say exactly what that temperature was but we did find several large iron wood trees that were reduced almost entirely to ashes; and ironwood is incredibly dense, so much so that it is fire resistant. As with the tortoise the hardest part of walking through this hell wasn’t finding the dead creatures but knowing how they died. #fire#burning#beautyindeath#amazon#slashandburn#reptiles#reptilesofinstagram@hojanueva@harry__turner@melissalesh
@harry__turner@melissalesh and I walked the perimeter of a recently slashed and burned forest in the Peruvian Amazon. In about an hour of walking we found 4 dead yellow footed tortoises. As I’m sure you’ve gathered by now this tortoise and the others were too slow to escape the fire and burned Inside their shells. Based on the size of the carapace you see in this photo we believe this tortoise was approximately 20-30 years old. The other three we found were smaller , one not much larger than a small human hand, meaning it was just starting life. Yellow footed tortoises are the 6th largest tortoise species on earth. And they are endangered. It was one of the saddest days I’ve had this year. The only thing that took away some of the grief were the purple butterflies landing on the shell , which you can see in this photograph. Just across the River is land protected by @hojanueva , which is safe , thank goodness.#earthlens@unenvironment
While I was in the Peruvian Amazon last week I asked @harry__turner to take me to some nearby land that had just been cleared and burned. My partner in this snake work @paulrosolie had showed me some pictures of dead animals he’d found in fires so I was curious to see what I would find in a quick walk around the perimeter of a recent cleared and burned area. When we arrived smoke was still rising from the earth, some of the trees were smoldering. The ground was hot to the touch, the horizon a field of black and grey ash interrupted by fallen black trees. The first thing one noticed Scattered everywhere were dead millipedes , charred and popped. They - along with most reptiles - were too slow to escape the inferno. In forthcoming photographs I will share images of the other animals we found, mostly reptiles. It was heartbreaking, not just because so much life literally burned alive but also because the people clearing the forest aren’t, for the most part, criminals ; quite the contrary: they are just trying to get by and do right by their children. Melancholy is the word. All that said , it is somewhat strange this picture as there is an odd beauty in death: the millipede curled so perfectly.
This is a young Clelia clelia also known as the mussurana or black snake. While this snake looks very much like the black headed calico snake I’ve posted before - one with discerning eyes and knowledge of the snakes in the Amazon like @harry__turner can tell it is not because it’s eyes are black, not red. One day this little snake , which at the moment can safely curl around a human finger, will grow to be 5-6 feet long, one of the larger snakes of the jungle. It will be a snake eater, and will even feed on venomous snakes like the fer de lance. One of the great joys of spending time with young animals is thinking about them grown up, fierce and wild , ready for almost anything but the destruction of man. Once again, please take a look at and follow @harry__turner . Thanks to @hojanueva and @eddiebauer for supporting this work. Lots more to come.