Today was AMAZING. It was basically a reptile-a-palooza, we explored the ATM cave system, and we got to tour the Belize Zoo at night!!!!!
One the road while leaving Las Cuevas we saw a fer-de-lance!!!!! What’s a fer-de-lance? You may know him by one of his many other names: lancehead, terciopelo, X-snake, yellowbeard, tommygoff, or Bothrops asper. He’s known for being large, aggressive, and venomous. Then, on the hike to the cave entrance we saw so many reptiles, like almost as many as we saw this whole past week in the rainforest. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take any pictures because we weren’t allowed to bring cameras into the cave. We saw three small anoles, a Teiid lizard, a helmeted basilisk, and a striped basilisk. Then after exploring the cave we saw two iguanas while we were eating lunch.
The ATM Cave (name is in Maya, but it roughly translates to Cave of the Stone Sepulcher) is known as one of the most amazing caves in the world, for good reason. We got into the cave by swimming in the water that was flowing out of it, and we swam in that river for almost the entire time navigating the cave. It was nice and cool and dark. There were lots of rocks to climb over, narrow crevices to pass through, and a few tiny waterfalls we had to slide down (note: some people were more graceful than others at doing these things…and I was not among those some people). I was having an amazing time just being in the river, but we were also right in the middle of a Maya ritual site full of broken pottery and actual human sacrifices. We saw a nearly complete human skeleton (and also some bats).
I was already having an awesome day from the cave, but then we went to the Belize Zoo at night and everything got better. I GOT TO HOLD A BOA CONSTRICTOR. Remember like a week ago back in Houston when I said I wanted Dr. Solomon to let me hold a snake??? Okay it was in a zoo but still. AND I GOT TO PET A TAPIR WHILE FEEDING HIM A BANANA. The best way I could possibly convey how epic this zoo tour was is by saying that we got to see a jaguar that was trained to do somersaults, and yet I decided other aspects of the tour were more exciting and deserved to be written in all caps.
Honestly, BEST. DAY. EVER.