Aruba’s Fontein Cave Art

July 16th, 2012 - 10:30 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | No comments

Fontein Cave | April 23, 2012 | Arikok National Park, Aruba

Arikok National Park contains the most well known of Aruba’s caves. I visited one of them, Fontein Cave, guided by a park ranger.

Arawak indians inhabited Aruba around 1000 AD. They adorned the walls of this cave and others with petroglyphs.

At the park’s visitors center, a display suggested that the following petroglyph might be an ironclad beetle.

Ironclad beetle, stylized, so forgive the missing legs

My guide quizzed me on a few others. I was asked about this one first.

Bzzzzt, what do you think this represents?

I guessed honeycomb. My guide smiled and vigorously nodded.

Bees were definitely on my mind though. I had just seen a bee hive in the limestone not far from the cave entrance.

Bee hive entrance in limestone.

As I stared at the bees coming and going, I started to wonder if I might be watching killer bees, since I was well within their range. As that thought crossed my mind, I was suddenly stung on my arm. Fighting the urge to run, I calmly walked away, without further incident.

Getting back to the cave though, my guide shone his light on another spot. Here, I had no clue what the petroglyph might represent.

Can you guess what this might be?

I’ll leave that one as a challenge of sorts. Feel free to comment with your guess. I’ll post a comment later on with what my guide told me.

Striped Anole, Displaying

July 14th, 2012 - 10:22 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | No comments

April 23, 2012 | Arikok National Park, Aruba

The Striped Anole, Anolis lineatus, was probably the species of lizard I most encountered in Aruba. I assume the common and scientific names refer to those dark broken lateral stripes, but it’s known locally as Waltaka.

Here’s another one, a female perhaps.

Female? Or a young male?

My earlier post of the lizard on a tree is also one.

After a good bit of googling, I came across a good free resource on the reptiles and amphibians of Aruba, link below.

Reference:

Amphibians and Reptiles of Aruba
by R. Andrew Odum
PDF hosted at WildAruba

Roosting Bats in Aruba

July 10th, 2012 - 11:31 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | No comments

April 23, 2012 | Arikok National Park, Aruba

While hiking around in Arikok National Park, I spotted from a distance some bats flying around below a small limestone overhang. I approached just close enough to snap a few pictures for possible identification.

I’m not nearly as close as this picture might suggest. I used my 100mm macro with a 1.6x teleconverter. This is also a significant crop from the original photo.

It appears I may have upset them, although I didn’t know that at the time. I’m surprised by their reaction. I didn’t figure my activity would disturb them. They weren’t in a cave, just beneath an overhang where there was plenty of indirect light. They were restlessly flying around even before I approached, perhaps trying to find a dark corner.

Those are some sharp little teeth! I assume they are bared for effect, since they seem to be staring straight in to the camera lens. It was a hot day though, so maybe they’re panting?

I found a couple of possible species for these bats, but I don’t have any confidence in saying which one these might be.

Aruban Lizard on Tree

July 5th, 2012 - 9:01 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 1 Comment

April 23, 2012 | Arikok National Park, Aruba

Aruba could easily be called “Lizard Island”. You can’t take a step without seeing a few scurrying away. I don’t think there’s a square inch of sand that doesn’t have a lizard track in it.

Wild Goat

May 1st, 2012 - 8:08 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | No comments

April 23, 2012 | Arikok National Park, Aruba

I took a short trip to Aruba recently. Late in the trip, I spent a half day in Arikok National Park. I saw plenty of wild goats. There are reportedly wild donkeys as well, but I didn’t see any of those.