Responses to PS #23 Jersey City

By Jackie Willis
May 6, 2003

Ms. DeLuca's class in Jersey City had lots of questions about rainforest animals, which they have chosen to research for books they are writing. I have answered their questions below. I think some of our readers might have the same questions, or maybe they will want to send me others. I'd be glad to hear from you.

Adios, Jackie

1. How fast can a basilisk run on water? (Aiman-My rainforest animal.)
I don't know-- it's faster than I can run on land! But they can't keep it up for very long. They just run across from one shoreline to another on a pond or across a big puddle. They don't run out on the big lake because a crocodile would eat them.

2. What do Fer de Lances eat?(Krishna)
They eat spiny rats and rabbits and squirrels, and other small creatures.

3. What do humming birds do with the honey they get?(Bryan)
Hummingbirds actually eat nectar, not honey. They eat it for energy so they can fly around and raise babies.

4. What types of cats did you see? (Jagdip)
I saw one ocelot this trip. But our cameras automatically photographed a jaguarundi and other ocelots.

5. Have you seen a jaguar yet? (Aqsa)
Not me, but Greg saw one 20 years ago. He met it on the trail one morning and they just looked at each other, then the jaguar walked away.

6. What types of cats are there worldwide? (Ashima)
The list is very long-- you should look on the Internet for a site about cats: leopards, snow leopards, clouded leopards, caracals, servals, lions, tigers, pampas cats, lynx, bobcat, margays, jaguarundis, jaguars, cheetahs, and so on.

7. Are there alligators in BCI? crocodiles? (Kenny)
We have crocodiles and caimans, but no alligators.

8. How is the weather? (Jasmine)
Right now, about 80 degrees and dry-- it's dry season.

9. What kind of butterflies are there? (Neena)
There are so many species in Panama and I don't know their names. My favorites are Morphos and Heliconids. You'll want to do a web search to find out more.

10. Do some iguanas eat insects? (Masroor)
Yes, many seem to eat insects-- but your teacher Ms. DeLuca is the expert on this. My pet green iguana liked crickets.

11. How many more species are likely to become endangered? (Joyce)
I don't know-- there are so many endangered now: probably many thousands more. As humans cut down more trees and entire forests, they destroy entire species of small creatures and lead to the extinctions of large ones.

12. Did you see any Tapirs? (Najah)
No, nobody has seen a tapir on BCI for awhile. Tapirs don't like to be seen. The guardabosque (game wardens) see one occasionally, just a few times a year. But our cameras automatically photographed several recently, because the cameras can take photos when we are not present.

13. Are there leopards in the rainforest? (Pratik)
Not in Panama. There are jaguars instead.

14. What color is a Tapir? (Prutha)
Kind of dark gray and white. Other species, not in Panama, are other colors.

15. How long is the lifespan of a jaguar? (Christian)
In the wild it might be only 1 to 8 years, I would guess. In captivity they live more than 20 years.

16. Have you seen any big cats (puma, jaguar)? (Melinda)
Not recently on BCI, but pumas are in photos and their footprints have been seen this month.

17. Are there any poison frogs in BCI? (Michelle)
Oh, yes, the black ones with green spots are common-- and I will put a photo on our website.

18. Are there any panthers in BCI? (Axel)
A panther? This is not a specific name-- if you mean puma, then yes. If you mean jaguar, then maybe no, not this year.

19. Have you seen any boa constrictors eat their prey? (Nayantara)
Yes, they eat basiliscus sometimes.

20. How many different animals are in BCI? (Jonathan)
If you mean how many species of mammals, then about 100. If you mean all animals, then probably thousands, because that includes insects.

21. Do humming birds eat any kind of flowers? (Kamille)
Hummingbirds eat nectar and some insects.

22. Is it scary in BCI? (Nadirah)
No, not scary-- you would like it, if someone showed you how to get along on the trails.

23. Have you seen any porcupines hurt any animals with its spines? (Rabiah)
No, but the owls here eat porcupines and swallow the spines. They come up again in the owl pellets. So I guess it can't hurt much or they wouldn't eat them. The porcupines here have short spines without barbs.

24. Have you seen any parrots in BCI? (Sharan)
Yes, many parrots, especially Mealy Amazons, and red-lored parakeets.

25. Are there wasps as big as spiders there? (Sam)
Yes, they are big enough to over-power and carry away a big tarantula.

26. Are there vultures that live in the rainforest? (Zenab)
Of course, they are part of the "cleanup crew" that eats dead animals. There are turkey vultures, black vultures (same as in New Jersey) and King vultures (very big and lovely).

27. What are some of the poisonous snakes? (Sabeeha)
Coral snakes and Fer-de-lance are dangerous to humans. Vine snakes and cat-eyed snakes are also poisonous, but they don't hurt humans.

28. Did you spot any jaguars at the rain forest? (Shoruk)
Not recently. They seem to visit BCI every several years by swimming across the lake.

29. Is the rainforest scary? (Fawzy)
If you know what you are doing, it isn't scary at all, just beautiful and really interesting.

30. Are there any animals that don't bite or peck there?
Most animals on BCI don't bite or peck! What did you mean by that? None are likely to bite a human unless the human tries to catch the animal.