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Guyana's Giants 

The thick forests and river systems are home to iconic animals and birds. 820 plus species of birds, 228 species of mammals, 900 species of fish and more than 6500 plants back the country’s reputation have given Guyana its deserved reputation as a serious wildlife and birding destination. Travellers often come with extensive checklists when visiting the protected areas and pristine rainforests. Visitors come to Guyana hoping for glimpses of giants such as jaguars, arapaima (the world’s largest-scaled freshwater fish), giant anteaters, harpy eagles, capybaras, giant river otters, black caimans and the world’s largest lily, Victoria Amazonica. Other heart-stoppers include puma, leatherback turtles, bird-eating spiders, several species of monkeys and a host of snakes – bushmasters, anacondas, rattlesnakes, labarias and corals.


Jaguar - King of the Jungle                               

The elusive jaguar is probably the most famous animal in South America. It is the largest cat and top terrestrial predator that walks the continent. Audubon Magazine says, “the Iwokrama Forest may be the best place in the world to see a wild jaguar”. Jaguars are found throughout the country, especially along the rainforest belt in the heart of the country's interior. Base yourself at one of the eco-lodges to test your luck. You might not see them, but they will certainly see you.


Arapaima - World’s Largest Scaled Freshwater Fish

The network of Essequibo, Rupununi and the Amazon River Basin is home to the arapaima. Isolated pools, rivers and wetlands are usual haunts for fishing enthusiasts to glimpse this mighty species.  The tropical weather is perfect for arapaimas. These are found mostly in the southwestern part of the country and are well-known in the oxbow lakes and waters of the Rewa River.      


Harpy Eagle – Guyana’s Most Majestic Bird

The harpy eagle is one of the world's most powerful birds of prey and the largest raptor in the South American subcontinent. Often on the birders' wish list, it is seen in the Kanuku Mountains and Iwokrama Rainforest. Untouched tropical forests are a perfect home for the harpy eagles, offering them ample prey to feed on, such as monkeys and sloths. Iwokrama River Lodge, Surama Eco Lodge and Rewa Eco Lodge are ideal launch pads to spot this species.


Giant Anteater - World’s Largest Anteater

With tiny eyes and ears that greatly contrast its large snout, body and tail, the world's largest anteater is truly an extraordinary animal. Giant anteaters are found in the Iwokrama Rainforest and the Rupununi Savannahs. Spotting these unique and quintessentially South American animals takes a trained eye. You can stay at a ranch like Saddle Mountain, Wichabai Ranch, Waikin Ranch or Karanambu and step out multiple times a day into the savannahs to get a glimpse and get up early before sunrise to go out on foot, by vehicle or on horseback in search of these lolloping nocturnal creatures before they go to bed.

Giant River Otter - World’s Largest and Rarest Otter

Of all the otter species in the world, the giant otter is the largest and often times the hardest to spot except in a few hotspots. Guyana's giant river otters were first documented at the Karanambu Ranch in the North Rupununi 1988. Here, the exemplary work on rehabilitating the otters was taken up by world-famous conservationist Diane McTurk at Karanambu Ranch. Since then, a stable population has been present in the Rupununi and neighbouring areas like the Rewa River, giving wildlife enthusiasts wonderful opportunities to witness these extraordinary creatures in the wild.


Black Caiman - World's Largest Alligatoridae

Cruising with the caimans is extremely likely in Guyana. The black caiman is a large crocodilian and the biggest extant member of the Alligatoridae family.  It is a carnivorous reptile that lives along South America's slow-moving rivers, lakes and other freshwater habitats. It is the largest predator in the Amazon ecosystem, preying on various fish, reptiles, birds and mammals. Any river in the heart of the country offers sightings. You can stay at Karanambu, Iwokrama River Lodge, or Surama for spotlighting trips at night, or most famously, go to Caiman House for unforgettable caiman tagging in the evenings.


Capybara – World's Largest Rodent

As far as statistical superlatives go, even the rodents do not disappoint. The world’s largest one, the capybara, is found in the savannahs, dense forests and near water sources. It looks like a humongous rat but is much cuter.


Victoria Amazonica —World’s Largest Lily

Guyana’s national flower can be found in oxbow lakes and the shallow waters of the Amazon Basin.  The leaves sprawl up to three metres in diameter – big enough to support a human baby.  The flowers are white on the first night; they open and emit a strong scent to attract beetles to pollinate them before they turn pink on the second night and then die. This process is a fascinating addition to the many natural wonders you will see in Guyana.


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