So, what have I got for you for this Foto Friday? Ah, a real treat… something cute AND funny, having sifted through a load of old photos. That’s the great thing about going back through old photos and videos; you find little gems, like this one. It’s one of things I experienced on my travels that I had forgotten about.
OK, so let me explain by setting the scene. I had left Cusco and was heading to Machu Picchu, as many a traveller does. I didn’t take the usual Inca Trail route; I went a different way. On Day 1 of our journey, we stopped off at what can only be described as my idea of heaven – farms that produce coffee and chocolate (cacao).
While we were stopped at the one of them, we met a rather interesting creature. It looked like a large rodent, but it seemed to be more like a pet. Well, as you can see from the photograph, it looks pretty domesticated with pride of place on a table, curious about us newcomers, and showing off its skills.
As you can see, it can securely hold a bottle of orange. But, ‘what is this large rat-like creature?, I hear you ask. Well, it’s a Mountain Paca (Cuniculus taczanowskii/Agouti taczanowskii). According to Wikipedia, they are nocturnal, solitary animals which typically live in the Andes and prefer a cold mountain climate. This one seemed to buck the trend because it certainly wasn’t shy and seemed to enjoy the attention. It was also sweltering hot that day, so I can only assume this was a very thirsty mountain paca because, when we arrived, it was drinking from a plastic cup and then moved on to the bottle of orange you can see the photos.
We might have been on a coffee and cacao farm, but this little (or not so little) fella really stole the show, as I’m sure you can imagine.
I don’t normally use two photographs for Foto Friday’s but I decided to today, just in case you thought the first one was of a toy or stuffed animal. As you can see, this is a real mountain paca that actually holds and drinks from the bottle itself, without any assistance… clever, huh?
Sadly, the number of mountain pacas is dwindling because they are hunted for their meat, which is considered a delicacy, and their habitat is being destroyed.
The two coffee and chocolate farms were located at Huayopata and Huacayupana on the way to Santa Teresa. You can get a rough idea of where they are located on this map…
Have your say
Have you come across a mountain paca? Have you seen an animal drink like this? If so, what was it and where? As always, I’d love to hear from you!