AMAZON WILDLIFE

According to a recent assessment by a leading group of biologists, the Rainforest around Sani Lodge in North Eastern Ecuador is the most biologically diverse locality in the world. (Yasuni Day, 2008).
For example…2,274 species of trees and bushes have been identified, more than any other area ever studied. 644 species of trees in only one hectare (2.47 acres) have been documented, which is almost as many species of trees as all of the United States and Canada combined! This is also a world record. Over 550 bird species are on the Sani Bird List, making it one of the highest lists in the world. 80 species of bats, making our area the second highest number ever registered. 105 species of amphibians.83 of reptiles which appears to make our area the most diverse ever studied. 64 species of social sting-less bees, also a world record in this group. 100,000 species of insects per hectare, again the greatest number of species of any place ever studied.

These vertebrate animals are the most common sight at your visit to Sani Lodge. As they are mostly active during the day, we start our excursions very early in the morning, at 6.00 am. Tropical birds are incredible diverse and, representing almost 15% of all the species in the world, nearly 1600 species are found in Ecuador. They eat insects, fruits, seeds, nectar and for the predator species, meat. At Sani, you will be able to see in a regular trip of 4 days, around 120 species out of the 550 existing in the area. However, this number might vary enormously for avid birders, reaching 250 different species in a 5 day trip.Sani is located between two of the most diverse ecological reserves in the world, The Yasuni National Park and the Cuyabeno reserve.

Our territory represents a natural corridor for an amazing variety of bird species. On the north, the Cuyabeno Reserve with 603,380 hectares of protected land (mostly flooded forest). On the south, The Yasuni National Park with 980,000 hectares of lowland forest and Terra Firme. Sani Lodge is a Birdwatchers paradise. We are constantly finding new species that haven’t been found in the area. The amazing Rufous Potoo and the White-eared Jacamar are just some of the examples that make our lodge such an impressive place to bird watch.

Ecuador is home to 460 species out of the 4700 living amphibians. Therefore, almost 10% of the world’s population is concentrated in this small territory, representing one of the highest amphibian’s diversities on earth.

 

Rainfrogs

Ecuador is home to nearly 200 out of the 900 species known worldwide. There are two families that can be easily recognized by shape, colours, and lifestyle. Leoptodactylus: All nocturnal and terrestrial, coloured tan to brown, bigger frogs. Eleutherodactylus: Mainly nocturnal and arboreal, have expanded discs on toes to provide a firm grip on leaves and branches, smaller frogs.

 

Poison-Dart Frogs

Ecuador is home to 45 out of the 170 existing species worldwide. Lots of these frogs are just in our land and nowhere else in the world. They come from the family Dendrobatidee and are normally brightly coloured, tinny, and have large eyes. Many sleep at low vegetation, usually less than a meter above the ground. Their extremely lethal poison has been used since ancient times by natives in the area, for hunting monkeys with blowguns.

Toads

Ecuador is home to 35 toad species out of the 400 known world wide. To permit more terrestrial life, this family has thick and dry skin. They tend to have short bodies with relatively short limbs and are often olive to dark brown colour. In our forest, many species are normally seen walking through the trails. However, they are really well camouflaged, so it is really important to be alert to any kind of movement.

Our territory represents a natural corridor for an amazing variety of bird species. On the north, the Cuyabeno Reserve with 603,380 hectares of protected land (mostly flooded forest). On the south, The Yasuni National Park with 980,000 hectares of lowland forest and Terra Firme. Sani Lodge is a Birdwatchers paradise. We are constantly finding new species that haven’t been found in the area. The amazing Rufous Potoo and the White-eared Jacamar are just some of the examples that make our lodge such an impressive place to bird watch.

This group is among the most captivating animals in Ecuador. They are one of the main objectives that travelers pursue in their trip to the Amazon rainforest. However, with exception of black Caimans, you will have to look hard and be kind of lucky to see some species from this group. Black Caimans are some of the threatened species in the Amazon basin, but luckily, in “challuacocha”, we protect a large population and can be easily found at night time. Today there are more than 7000 species of reptiles worldwide and Ecuador is home for almost 410 species. This sum is composed by 135 lizards, 235 snakes and the rest in crocodilians and turtles. Some of their special characteristics include, skin covered with tough scales, permitting reptiles to have a terrestrial life; an efficient heart and blood system, achieving enough blood pressure for land living; and the faculty of being able to breed in land.

Turtles

With about 260 species worldwide, Ecuador is home of many of the most amazing species. They rarely encountered in the wild, but in our lagoon they are pretty easy to find. There are big chances of seeing the big headed Amazon River turtle or the South American yellow-footed tortoise while you’re paddling in a dug out canoe through “challuacocha”.

Crocodiles and relatives

With about 22 species worldwide, they generally inspire respect and curiosity. These ancient animals are one of the main attractions at Sani Lodge. Ecuador is home of 5 different species. In the Amazon Rainforest, exist an endangered specie called the “black Caiman”. These creatures can get up to 6 meters and represent the largest Crocodile in America. In our lagoon, these reptiles can be seen almost every day. However, it is more likely to see them at night with low tide.

Lizards and snakes

They are considered in the same group, as they have very similar skeletal traits indicating close relationship.

Geckos

Ecuadorian geckos are small, gray or brown lizards with large eyes. They have thin ad soft skin and are the first in invading walls or ceilings. Ecuador is home for 15 species of these harmless lizards.

There are 4629 mammals in the world and 324 occur in Ecuador. It is important to mention that most rainforest mammals are inconspicuous and hard to spot being small, well camouflaged, shy and nocturnal. They are widely distributed, so it is necessary to be at the right spot at the right time. Also, many of them have been hunted for years, so it gets sometimes difficult to spot them within the dense vegetation.At Sani Lodge there are chances of seeing many of them! Our territory consists in 37,000 hectares of protected and, in some parts, virgin forest where wild animals live freely without being hunted. Since our project started, natives stopped their hunting habits to change for the protection of the endangered species that live in their land.

Nowadays, in a tour through the forest you may be able to see:

– Noisy Night Monkeys

– Black mantled Tamarin Monkeys

– Squirrel Monkeys

– White fronted Capuchin Monkeys

– Dusky Titi Monkey

– Red howler Monkey

– Woolly Monkey

– Pygmy Marmoset

– Black Agouti

– Long Nosed Bat

– Bulldog Bat, and others…

All spiders, scorpions, centipedes, millipedes and more, are placed together under the same category called Antropods. They can adapt to almost any habitat in the world and represent still a field of many discoveries to come. Some scientific studies say that there are actually more than 30 million different species and, for instance, in Yasuni National Park more than 60,000 species/hectare can be found.

 

Therefore, an exquisite explosion of colours and designs are waiting for you at Sani. With more that 1,000 species of Butterflies, thousands of beetles, ants, wasps and more, our lodge is the perfect destination for those who want to explore this magical micro cosmos.

We have seen many of our guests changing completely their way of seeing and feeling the so called “insects”. Our amazing night walks invite you to explore jungle life from another angle. Other shapes, contrasts and sounds will come alive and Anthropods will break the boundaries of what we normally think as “real”.

With more than 20,000 species of plants, Ecuador has one of the richest floras in the world. Almost 4,500 are endemic to Ecuador and the Amazon Rainforest is home to many of those species. While walking in the forest you will notice large leaves responding the need of light, huge roots spreading out, bromeliads, orchids, palms, vines and strangler trees proving the incredible power of nature. Three main types of habitats occur in our moist forest ecoregion:

– Terra firme forest on the high relief, not subject to flooding

– Várzea forest type, subject to seasonal flooding by whitewater rivers.

– Igapó forest type, on poor soils subject to seasonal or permanent flooding by blackwater rivers (no sediment load).

In general these are all tall moist evergreen tropical rain forests, but each habitat consists in a unique combination of plant species that characterize the land. The terra firme forests are more diverse and generally taller with canopies reaching 40 m , and emergent trees to 50 m in height; epiphytes and lianas occur here but are not abundant. Along the rivers, some stands are dominated by palms especially Mauritia flexuosa and swamp forests with a distinct flora form parts of the adjacent upland forests. At Sani you will have the possibility of seeing all this different types of forest and learn about the different species in each habitat.

Some of the most recognizable flora at Sani:

Kapoc – Ceiba Pentandra

Strangler – Ficus Crosslunsaula

Climber Vine – Philodendrom

Ginger – Costus

Ant-associated Melastome

Heliconia – About 70 diferent species