Mysterious Water Anole


– I’m Coyote Peterson, and
today we’re on the search for the elusive water anole. I got one right
here off this ledge! Oh god! (fast, dramatic music) From a bird’s eye view, the
rain forests of Costa Rica seem to be nothing
but endless treetops. Drop beneath the canopy
and you will find that the terrain is
incredibly rugged, yet intricately laced
with miles of canyons cut into the wild
by flowing water. (exhales) Wow. This environment is
seriously challenging. Everything is so slippery,
and all the rocks are sharp and jagged. It’s almost like
controlled falling. You do everything you
can not to hurt yourself. Right, well we’re working our
way up through this canyon, and hopefully that’s
where we’re gonna find the water anole. When it comes to
the Osa Peninsula, the landscape is
absolutely epic. And the biodiversity that
thrives in this remote paradise is an animal enthusiast’s
dream come true. The Brave Wilderness team
and I have embarked upon many grand adventures, but nothing would push us to
the limit like our quest to find one of the rarest
lizards in the country. A tiny dragon that
can only be found deep in the heart
of the rain forest. Look at that. That’s a baby one. Wow, I’m gonna try to grab him. Got him. Look at that. Well, we found one. It’s just really really tiny. That is a baby water
anole right there. All right, we’re gonna
put this little guy back on his leaf. Try to find one of
his big brothers. Encountering a juvenile water
anole was a definite sign that we were headed in
the right direction. But then, the rain hit. (rain falling on camera lens) For nearly two hours we hiked
through a torrential downpour. And with the main
cameras packed away, GoPros captured the journey as we navigated
the dense jungle. Our destination, a remote
waterfall that was rumored to be the one place on the
Osa Peninsula where the largest water
anoles could be found. Local guides talked about
these lizards as if they were mythical rain forest dragons. Creatures of the shadows that could spring from
cliff-sides and disappear into the watery abyss
in the blink of an eye. Just to see one would be rare. To capture one would be epic. In the distance the
sound of falling water echoed through the canyon. And as we rounded the
bend, before I knew it, we had entered
the dragon’s lair. (water splashing into the gorge) I got one right
here off this ledge. Hold on. Oh god! – [Voiceover] Nice catch.
– Yes! Whoo! Look at that! – [Voiceover] Beauty.
– And it is a male! Look at that dewlap, watch this. Oh, yes. The elusive water
anole, there it is. All right, I imagine you
probably don’t want to film next to this waterfall. Let’s bring him back
into the better light, and get him up close
for the cameras. Yes! We finally got one! Oh, look at that. That is a water anole. You guys have no idea how
much effort it has taken to land ourselves in this canyon and find one of
these elusive lizards We’ve been hiking for hours, we’ve been dealing
with rainstorms. Got a waterfall, and finally
as I came across that turn, shining with my flashlight
and said, this is the moment. That is a male, that is the
one that I have to catch. Now, this lizard as an
anole, you may be thinking, “Ah, Coyote, we’ve seen so
many anoles,” but trust me. You have not seen
an anole like this. This lizard is incredibly
well-adapted for this water ecosystem. What they will do, and
fortunately for me I was quicker than he was, they’ll
wait on the edges of the canyon like that, and as soon
as a predator gets close, they dive off of the
wall, into the water, and find a crevice to go into. They sit there and they wait
until the danger’s gone, then (bubbling sound)
they emerge back up and go about their daily business. – [Voiceover] Wait,
how do they go again? – (bubbling sound) They emerge back up, and go
about their daily business. Now, ha, let me catch my
composure because this was such a tough lizard to catch,
my hand is actually shaking. We did catch a female earlier, and they’re a bit smaller
than the males, but. Look what he’s
doing, you see that? He’s being completely limp in
my hand because he wants me to think that he’s dead. He’s not, trust me, at any
second he could go blop, just like that, and
launch off of my hand. I can’t do that for too
long, because he’ll realize that I don’t have a good
hold on him, oop, come here. – [Voiceover] And do that.
– And do that. Try to spring off, but
let’s take a look at this lizard’s camouflage, because they are
incredibly cryptic. I was only able to spot him
with my flashlight because the striping and those
little yellow dots are what stood out. He looks just like the
mosses and the lichens that are covering these rocks. You’re very good
at camouflaging,
buddy, you know that? But if you look at
him from the side, you can see that
bluish stripe that runs down the
length of the body. Incredibly beautiful, kinda
reminds me of a Dilophosaur from Jurassic Park. Now you guys want to see
this lizard’s dewlap? – [Voiceover] Yep.
– It is pretty cool. All right, get ready for this. This is the coolest
part of this lizard. Now because this is a male,
all male anoles have a dewlap. And they are
absolutely beautiful. And this doesn’t hurt the
lizard in any whatsoever. – [Voiceover] Wow. – Look at that. Now what they use the dewlap
for is to attract the ladies. So this gentleman will
puff up his chest, extend out his dewlap, and
then he’ll bob up and down and say, “Ladies? How
good lookin’ am I?” And that he is, one
handsome little fella. Aside from being
incredibly handsome, there you go buddy, he is also a really
great hunter. What they’re out here
looking for, pretty much any little invertebrate
they can come across, but they specialize in
catching water nymphs. And of course, because
they’re adapted for water, they go down in there, look
for their food, grab a meal, bring it up onto the sides of
the canyons, and have a feast. So, he has a pretty limited diet in an environment like this,
but as you can see this lizard looks incredibly healthy. It’s about average
size for a male. The males are a slight bit
bigger than the females. Yeah, I see you, I know,
you’re an excellent hunter. And he’s a little
discouraged right now because he was caught
by a potential predator. Now these lizards are
really well-adapted to this canyon waterfall ecosystem. And their skin is actually
really hydrophobic, which means that water will
bead up on it and run right off. Let me grab a handful
of water and show you what that look like,
hold on a second. Check this out. We’ll drip some
water down on him. Look at that, you see how
the water just beads up, and runs right off? – [Voiceover] So he’s staying
dry, and we’re soaked. – He’s much drier
than I am right now. I’m soaked having to go
into that waterfall to catch this lizard. And right now this guy
just wants to get back up onto the rocks so he
can continue hunting. But what an awesome
adventure to get down here into the canyon and catch
the elusive water anole. I’m Coyote Peterson,
be brave, stay wild. We’ll see you on
the next adventure. Every time we deploy
into the wild, Mother Nature tests us with some seemingly impossible challenges. And there are certainly
times where the team and I have wanted to give up. To throw in the towel
and say, “You know what? “This episode just
isn’t going to happen.” But this is Breaking Trail,
so when the going gets tough, the Brave Wilderness
team gets going. And Mother Nature
always rewards hard work with something spectacular. To this day, I still can’t
believe that we actually caught a rain forest dragon. (dramatic music) If you thought this
adventure was epic, go back and watch our
expedition that led to the capture of a beautiful
yet toxic little amphibian, the poison frog. And don’t forget, subscribe
to join me and the crew on this season of
Breaking Trail.

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