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  • Writer's pictureCari Mackey

Panamanian Variegated Squirrel

To get to Panama from wherever you are requires some form of travel through an urban setting and likely includes time in an airport. Between the stressful scramble to stay on a tight time schedule, there's some inherent down time too which is great for catching up on emails, scrolling through your phone, and drinking an exceedingly expensive bloody mary. But once you've caught up with your Insta feed, don't you just love the people watching aspect of it?

For one species of almost 8 billion who are genetically identical to each other, we sure do vary a LOT. Actually, we are all so unique from one another it's pretty mind blowing which is why people watching is so fascinating! I love to see what people choose to wear on their feet while traveling. How about you?

Imagine now leaving that airport and the busy city in the rear view and arriving here in Morrillo where nature is your surrounding. Trees, flowers, ocean, animals, stars, and that salty ocean air. Nature is incredibly entertaining and like any source of entertainment, she has got some stand out star performers. The monkeys are by far the most unique and entertaining but the squirrels are a close second and then probably the birds but they may be a tie because there are so many beautiful exotic birds here.

I'm pretty sure everyone loves squirrels. They are big enough to see and watch as they play their way through the jungle, chase each other, eat everything, and build their nests. Many of our guests are quite surprised when they see a squirrel because despite their common presence all over the world, in the jungle they are harder to spot and I think it helps us feel more connected with this place through the commonality of this cute animal.

We have a few different species in Panama. The above photos are Variegated Squirrels named for their varying colors which is more obvious for the top image who is Oodie - our rescued squirrel from a couple of years ago. These adorable animals mate once a year between April and May and have a gestation period of 33 - 46 days when they give birth to an average of 5 kits in the nests they build high up in the canopy.

Squirrels front teeth never stop growing to support their constant gnawing away at foods like coconuts, seeds, and sticks for making their nests. They can chew through a coconut in no time to get to the tasty meat and juice inside. So, unlike the entertaining squirrels of the north, they tend to stay up in the canopy to forage for all the tasty fruits, seeds, and flowers rather than going to the ground to cache their nuts for later. That said, they still play a crucial role in seed dispersal, canopy management, and of course they help to feed their predators like snakes, and predator birds.

We invite you to enjoy an amazing bloody mary on our terrace, sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!

Your Friends in Morrillo,

Cari and Ryan Mackey

Owners and Hosts

Morrillo Beach Eco Resort

EASY SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION TIP OF THE WEEK: Sea turtles navigate by the reflection of the moon and stars off the water so house and street lights are lethally disorienting for them. Turn off your lights at night if you are anywhere near the ocean or swap them out with a red light bulb.

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