Sloth in Soberanía National Park

Photo Friday: Soberanía National Park, Panama

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On our second full day in Panama, we got up well before the sun to find Semaphore Hill in Soberanía National Park rather reminiscent of San Francisco, in all its fog-cloaked glory.

Canopy Tower | PanamaLiving up to its name, the rainforest remained, well, rainy throughout our 36 hours there. At least it’s consistent!

As our bleary, sleep-filled eyes scanned the treetops for signs of birds, they kept being diverted inward instead to the branches as the frisky coati demanded our attention.

Coati | Canopy Tower | PanamaCute, ugly little buggers, aren’t they? I can’t decide if this guy’s mangy or had just been in a tiff with one of his fellow tree-dwellers.

Coati | Canopy Tower | PanamaI’m pretty sure, either way, he has the disposition of a honey badger, making squabbles with his neighbors a likely occurrence. It’s just the innate impression that I get—and I do have a sixth sense for these sorts of things.

Coati | Canopy Tower | PanamaWe actually needn’t even leave the tower to explore the rainforest, as, in fact, the coati wasn’t the only creature we spotted out the window of our room at the Canopy Tower in Panama. Can you guess what—or rather, who—we spied through the thick foliage of the tree to the coati’s immediate left? I’ll give you a hint; his claws look something like this…

Sloth | Canopy Tower | PanamaIf you guessed a sloth, then you win…well, the glory of knowing you were right!

Coati | Canopy Tower | PanamaWe couldn’t actually see its face for several hours, as he remained hidden, sleeping soundly, beneath a matted clump of leaves. Sloths, they get their names for a reason! I took approximately 734 photos of his claws, fearful that might be as close to seeing a sloth out in the wild as I was going to get.

Sloth in Soberanía National Park But when we came back from our birding safari—is that just the dorkiest thing I’ve ever admitted to? I believe it might have been but, whatever, it was awesome—behold, he was awake and ready to entertain.

Sloth | Canopy Tower | PanamaI’m sure he heard about Kristen Bell’s obsession and figured if he posed for the camera, he might make it to Hollywood, too. I mean, what sloth doesn’t have lofty aspirations of leaving Central America behind in pursuit of some day being auto-tuned?

Sloth | Canopy Tower | PanamaSloths—not only are they slow, they’re also incredibly vain.

COMMENTS
  • July 6, 2012

    Gorgeous pictures! Have a fun day!

  • July 6, 2012

    In my mind, I like to think that the sloth and the coati hang out and go on adventures together. Great pictures!

    • July 6, 2012

      But where does the honey badger factor in: friend or foe? That is the question.

  • July 6, 2012

    How cool! I love this. And sorry to be a bit late, but I have also been loving the new blog. My ultimate goal is to work for Semester at Sea… Thank you for inspiring me!

    • July 6, 2012

      That makes me happy! I love me some SAS. And I would suggest starting to apply now, as it often can take a few years to get hired.

      • July 6, 2012

        Thanks for the advice! Still have one year of college left… Would they even consider someone fresh out of college without a masters? I read that experience working with college students is recommended, too, which I have plenty of as this will be my third year as an RA. Thanks again, Kristin!

        • July 6, 2012

          Since UVA is the academic sponsor, I’m pretty sure a master’s is required for all employees. Are you planning to go to graduate school after college? Your RA background will *definitely* be a huge help in landing you a job! If you’re going to do grad school, I would recommend applying for a student life position with ISE at the beginning of the academic year for the following summer/fall, since the lead time is usually a year. Then you can finish up with your master’s degree and do a term on the ship without interfering with whatever job you take after you’re done with all your degrees =)

  • July 6, 2012
    SVV

    Sloths! OhEmGee!

    Favorite shot is the freaky claws through the foliage.

    • July 6, 2012

      His nails remind me of Ella’s!

  • July 6, 2012

    I love the sloth photos! I think of all the animals we saw when we were in the Amazon, the sloth was my favorite. We were also lucky enough to see one awake and moving about, albeit quite slowly. I have to admit to not being the biggest rainforest fan—I really wanted to love it but just didn’t—but being up in a tower like this seems pretty cool. Maybe I’ll have to give it another shot.

    • July 6, 2012

      Yeah, I haven’t been that impressed by other rainforests I’ve visited in the past–too muggy! too buggy!–but I really did love this little slice of Panama. It was incredible in its biodiversity.

  • July 6, 2012

    AHHH!!! Those sloth pictures are awesome! He really does look like Sid from Ice Age.. =p

    • July 15, 2012

      YES! I totally forgot about Sid being a sloth! Though I definitely want to see the new Ice Age–those movies are too cute.

  • July 6, 2012

    I…loooooooove…meeeee…sooooooome…sloooooooths.

    • July 6, 2012

      Highlight of my career as a wildlife stalker, for sure!

  • July 6, 2012

    Ahhhhh, I love your pictures. In fact, spotting animals and birds in the rainforest is one of my favorite activities. I have seen the most animals in Panama.

    • July 6, 2012

      It’s amazing–isn’t it?–how rife in biodiversity Panama is, even in comparison to its other Central American neighbors.

  • July 6, 2012
    CJ

    Ohmygod, I’d never seen the Kristen Bell thing…. I have tears from laughing so much! I’d be excited to see one in the wild after that, too!!

    • July 6, 2012

      Best Internet thing ever, right? I have always loved her–and was glad that she lived up to my image of her when I interviewed her in 2008–but this just gave me a whole new respect for KBell.

  • July 6, 2012

    I don’t think that I had ever really thought about sloths until my teenager showed me that Kristen Bell video – too funny! Love your sloth photos – I’m sure that Kristen is going to be terribly jealous of you!!

    • July 6, 2012

      I feel like Kristen Bell is single-handedly responsible for the sloth’s rapidly growing crowd appeal.

  • July 6, 2012

    What’s with the Kristen/ins of the world and sloths? I love that video of K Bell freaking out. I decided I wanted a pet sloth after I saw her meltdown. Haven’t gotten one yet, but it’s on the bucket list.

    • July 8, 2012

      I’m not sure, but if I were to start a blog in 2012, it would probably be “Sloths & Coffee” or some similar combination =)

  • July 7, 2012

    Oh my gosh, that sloth has the silliest face of any creature ever. I love it!

    • July 8, 2012

      “Silly” is the perfect word to describe a sloth.

  • July 8, 2012

    They look to have incredible personality. Can’t wait to see one, or two…

    • July 12, 2012

      The just look plain silly to me!

  • July 8, 2012

    Wow, seeing a sloth in the wild would be really cool!

    • July 12, 2012

      Now I only need to see a whale shark while diving, and I can die a happy traveler.

  • July 8, 2012

    Love sloths! Great pictures.

  • July 9, 2012

    Oh I love your sloth and coati pictures! These animals are oh so beautiful:) Looks like a fabulous trip!

  • July 9, 2012

    I love the sloth! The coati is interesting too. He does look scrappy. This looks like a place we’d love to visit.

    • July 12, 2012

      A great place for families, I would imagine, though funny enough, it was all older retired couples while we were there!

  • July 12, 2012
    BHS

    What happened to the one with bullet holes?

    • July 15, 2012

      I think he got into a heated argument with the sloth…and the sloth won.

  • July 15, 2012

    Hahaha – so cute! And so vain. That sloth probably thinks this comment – and this post – is about him.

    • July 15, 2012

      Let’s only hope he doesn’t have a Google Alert set up.

  • August 4, 2012

    Awesome photos of Costa Rica. Great sloth photos. I am actually going to work at The Sloth Reserve in Costa Rica next month as a volunteer. I am documenting the experience for animal lovers who might want to see more of these four legged sluggish buggers. Check out my new blog, I would love to hear what you think!
    -Daniella
    http://www.thewondersofwandering.com/the-sloth-sanctuary-in-costa-rica/

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