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Colombia meters) in length. Giant anacondas combine an arboreal life (inhabiting trees) with an aquatic life (inhabiting the water) and are most active at night. They wait for prey while coiled loosely around ­low-­hanging tree branches or submerged in the water with their eyes just above the surface. When capybaras, wading birds, and other animals come to the water’s edge, they attack, coil around, and kill their prey by constriction. Then they slowly swallow the dead carcass ­whole. Wildlife in the wetter southern Oriente, where there is rain-­ forest, is equally interesting. If you are lucky, you might see a tapir, a large browsing mammal that has a pig-­like body with a great tapering nose. Trees provide a habitat for several types of monkeys that forage their canopies for fruits, leaves, nuts, and insects. Night monkeys, as their name implies, are nocturnal (active at night) and use their large eyes for night vision. The ­white-­faced saki is a ­tree-­living, ­fast-­moving, and shy monkey that makes ­ bird-­like chirping sounds to communicate. This primate is active during the daytime, as it moves from ­branch to branch eating fruits, leaves, and insects. Also found in the southern Oriente is the ­squirrel-­sized tamarin monkey, which jumps quickly from branch to branch. Because they live in such large groups (of up to 40 or more), their chatter and movement makes their presence ­obvious. Flowering vines and the sweet smell of orchids attract the attention of hummingbirds and butterflies. Below, on the open forest floor, a tortoise might amble along, eating ripe fallen fruits. A jaguar, whose powerful jaws can easily crack a tortoise shell, may be lurking in the bushes nearby. Overhead, hidden among the shaded branches, a ­zone-­tailed hawk may be on the lookout for small ­prey. As you travel from the Oriente plains toward the Andes, you might encounter creatures that inhabit the transitional scrub forest, such as the armadillo and giant anteater. Entering the humid forest of the Andes, a mountain lion, spotted cat, or spectacled bear could be warily stalking you. A Colombian tapir or the mountain tapir (a threatened species) may try to

Colombia  

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