|Giant Armadillo emerging from Burrow, Pantanal, Brazil|
It was a complex trip, working in several different biomes including the Amazon, but our major concentration was the endangered species of the Pantanal. Although this fellow coming out of his burrow looks a bit like the common Texan 9-banded armadillo, this is actually a Giant Armadillo, one of the rarest and least-known large mammals in the Neotropics. I had never seen one before - and after I took this - I had STILL never seen one. Welcome to the world of camera traps.
The photo was made with an elaborate camera trap system I employed every night at what appeared to be occupied burrows. This was the first image taken on the first of 9 consecutive nights, and it is still my favorite. It is an intimate look at a very rare animal (this is one of the first-ever wild shots of this behavior) looking untroubled and at ease.
It is not obvious but these animals are big: over 3 feet in length and weighing upwards of 60 pounds. They sleep up to 18 hours a day and emerge only at night - facts which help explain why even people who have lived their entire lives in the Pantanal have never seen one.
As is often the case, a week spent trying to get pictures of these secretive animals was just long enough to teach me how hard it would be to really tell their story. But I did get some ideas, and with some equipment refinements, I hope to be able to get deeper into the project when I go back next year.
Until then, I will post some more images from Brazil in the coming week or two.
Nikon D300, 18-200mm lens, Camera-trap