Guiana 2019, environmental education and naturalism

What happiness to comeback to Guiana, its biodiversity, our friends and to still do many beautiful discoveries!


We come back after 3 intense weeks. We already knew this beautiful territory because we had already observed many species in 2015.


For this 2019 edition, the team was composed of Marion Petit, Alice Denis, Xavier Leal, Romain Datcharry and Laurent Barthe. We had the opportunity to converge our different passions. Like all our trips, we spent a large part of our stay prospecting to contribute to the improvement on local knowledges on amphibians and reptiles. Beyond this scientific approach, the originality of this expedition is the adding of an educational dimension. We were fortunate to intervene with classes from 6ème to CAP. We shared and discussed with a hundred students. Discover without delay the report of this trip in pictures!


Kaw, its mountain, its swamps and its biodiversity.

What better way to start than by roaming the mountain of Kaw?! This area is well-known for the richness of its biodiversity and in the first few days, we enjoyed nice observations: Dendrobates tinctorius, Callimedusa tomopterna, Anilius scytale, Thamnodynastes pallidus, Paleosuchus trigonatus… 

The team also discovered pleasure of nights in a hammock and the happiness to cohabit with scorpions, tarantulas, ants and mosquitos. You must not trust appearances, this cohabitation goes well except a few small and light incidents!   

Thanks to Timothée Le Pape for this very nice night at Patawa Creek!

Maripasoula, a real melting pot around gold mining.

Quick passage by Cayenne to take an internal theft to Maripasoula. We get on a little plane (with only fifteen seats). During the flight, we become aware of the extent and the immensity of the Amazon forest.

In the middle of nowhere, illegal gold mining sites appear. After a few days spent in Maripasoula, we realize that a large part of local economy is based on gold exploitation. This town is a real melting pot which represents well the story of Guiana. In some days, we sympathize with a Dominican gold digger, a Surinamese baker, a Peruvian teacher and the list is far from being exhaustive. We discover quickly the richness and happiness to meet “Aloukou” and Amerindian students.

About reptiles and amphibians, it’s the big deception… the only one snake observed is a Boa constrictor killed by our neighbour a few minutes before we get notified. Through our local meetings, the work with the college and the long unsuccessful hours of prospection, we realize that for the great majority of the residents, an observed snake is a killed snake!

Fortunately, we go to the waterfalls of Gobaya to take a deep breath of fresh air. After an hour of pirogue, we finally arrive in a preserved area. In 2 days and 1 night, we observe 4 snakes whose a magnificent Oxyrhopus occipitalis, 1 big turtle (Chelonoidis denticulatus), 1 Paleosuchus trigonatus as well as a lot of amphibians and some mammals.

Saül, the favorite of the expedition

A real paradise in the heart of the Amazon… Here, there is time-space totally different. The village, located in the middle of the forest, is calm and peaceful. We regain an accommodation that we already appreciated in 2015, “les Carbets du bord”.

Even if we miss once again the mythical Lachesis muta, whose the only one individual seen was found dead on a path by the gendarmerie, this part of the expedition will still be a great success on human and naturalistic sides.

We go on with very friendly meetings during all the week: the duo of mobile gendarmes who slowly became passionate about reptiles, our guests (Dominique and Jean-Paul), Didier the future largest cocoa producer in Guiana, the famous Sébastien Sant of the Amazonian Park of Guiana as well as the different hut roommates (the two persons living in Marseille, the doc and the backpackers) whose our first Corallus hortulanus. Other specimens will enrich our observations and show us that this animal is very polymorphous. Other nice species met during the stay: Tupinambis teguixin, Sibon nebulatus, Spilotes sulphureus, Phyllomedusa bicolor…

Kourou, what a final (the CSG, CERATO, Petit Saut, Guatemala…)!

We did not expect to finish so strong after these first 2 intense weeks. However, Kourou will bring us its share of surprises and not always good! The taboo subject of this end of stay can now be revealed: the passage by the Guiana Space Centre will not have been a great success! We did not observe Ariane 5 launch well because of a rainy weather and the facilities tour was very light.

Fortunately, Kourou will have been the place of pleasant meetings, especially with the actors involved in the conservatory management of natural areas of the CGS: Cécile Richard, Sandrine Richard and Philippe Jet. We also reconnected with a friend of Atheris, Vincent Prémel. Other nice meetings punctuated this end of stay including Audric Broux, President of the association CERATO. A huge thanks to all this people for their availability and for sharing their knowledge of the territory (Petit Saut, Monkeys mountain, Guatemala…). Thanks to them, we observed many critters. Here is a non-exhaustive list of snake species: Corallus caninus, Epicrates cenchria, Epicrates maurus, Boa constrictor, Mastigodryas boddaerti, Drymoluber dichrous, Atractus badius, Erythrolamprus breviceps, Erythrolamprus reginae, Erythrolamprus typhlus, Imantodes cenchoa, Imantodes lentiferus, Oxyrhopus melanogenys!

About the author: Matthieu Berroneau

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