DixPix Photographs

     

SOUTH CORDILLERA

 
     
  Fauna:  OTHER MAMMALS  

 

The cold jungles of southern Chile do not seem to be particularly rich in mammalian species, and those that exist tend to be either very rare (like the puma and huemul) or small and well hidden.  Animals are hence easier to encounter in the open forests and steppes to east of the Andes, or in the semi-arid regions farther north.  Here are a few.

 

Hi. " I am an armadillo, but here they call me Quirquincho, and frankly I find this pose rather embarrassing." Click to see big picture (429x480 pixels; 94 KB)
A pair of 'Big Hairy Armadillos' or 'Quirquincho Grande' (Chaetophractus villosus).  They are quite common in the southern and western parts of Argentina. Click to see big picture (640x471 pixels; 164 KB)
A closer look at a Quirquincho Grande, a road kill.  Their shells are used to make a lute-like string instrument known as a 'charango'. Click to see big picture (640x409 pixels; 145 KB)
This smaller and browner armadillo from Patagonian Argentina is likely the 'pichi' or Quirquincho Pequeño (Zaedyus pichiy).  These are sometimes kept as pets.  The Patagonian natives tend to use the term 'pichi' for all armadillos. Click to see big picture (640x333 pixels; 110 KB)
Greetings. "I'm a Hog-nosed Skunk, and I find that name desultory.  The term Chingue is even worse.  I prefer to be called 'Zorrino'." In polite company, the Patagonian Hog-nosed Skunk is known as Conepatus humboldtii. Click to see big picture (640x418 pixels; 115 KB)
The Hog-nosed Skunks (Conepatus sp.) do not seem to have as potent a spray as their North American cousins, but when they raise their tails like this, it is better to vacate. Click to see big picture (541x480 pixels; 125 KB)
Alas, evolution has not taught skunks that their warning sign has no effect on cars or trucks.  A road kill in Patagonia. Click to see big picture (640x393 pixels; 128 KB)
This black-tailed skunk from the Peruvian Andes is likely the 'Chigue Real' or Andean Hog-nosed Skunk (Conepatus chinga rex). Click to see big picture (602x480 pixels; 118 KB)
The Mara (Dolichotis patagonum or patagonica) in Argentina, looks like an overgrown rabbit. Click to see big picture (564x480 pixels; 138 KB)
Although widely hunted, Maras can be tamed or at least adjust to human habitation. mara
A drowsy Vizcacha (or Viscacha) sunning itself in an alpine rockpile.  Called Vizcacha de Montana, it is likely Lagidium viscacia, although in this location in northernmost Chile, there is an overlap of the Peruvian Vizcacha L. peruanum. Click to see big picture (569x480 pixels; 126 KB)
This unusual black phase of Vizcacha in southern Chubut Province of Argentina is likely Lagidium wolffsohni, known as Wolffsohn's Viscacha.  Despite legal protection, Vizcachas are heavily hunted for their pelts. Click to see big picture (619x480 pixels; 131 KB)
The Collared Peccary (Pecari tajacu) is no longer classified as a pig.  Its range extends from the southern United States to northern Argentina, although it prefers to remain on the east side of the Cordillera.  In packs, it can be dangerous. peccary
A Nutria, also known as Coypu or Coipo (Myocastor coypus).  Found near water throughout the wetter parts of the southern Cordillera. Click to see big picture (640x392 pixels; 100 KB)
The Nutria is hunted for both meat and its pelt.  The coarse reddish guard hairs are removed to reveal a fine, dark grey (and valuable) fur beneath. Click to see big picture (640x431 pixels; 161 KB)
With the long tail exposed, it is more obvious that the Nutria is a large rodent, the largest native to Chile. Click to see big picture (640x423 pixels; 164 KB)
Rodent steaks are an asado favorite in certain areas, although more popular on the fringes of the Amazon Basin, where there is a variety of species. Click to see big picture (464x480 pixels; 84 KB)
The Cuy (a guinea pig) is virtually the national dish of Peru.   Tasty, but a lot of picking for not much meat. cuy
The North American Muskrat (Ondatra zebethicus) has been released in Patagonia and is doing well.  Apparently this was done in hopes of creating a fur trade.  Both Beaver and Mink have also been released and are causing problems. muskrat
The south american foxes are sometimes called 'false foxes' and there has been some dispute among taxonomists as to which genus they belong to.  Pseudalopex and Lycalopex seem favorites, although Dusicyon and even Canis have been applied.  Lycalopex appears to be winning. Click to see big picture (614x480 pixels; 96 KB)
The Culpeo or Zorro Rojo (Lycalopex culpaeus) of reddish color is found through much of the southern Cordillera. Click to see big picture (617x480 pixels; 104 KB)
It is noted for its brave (foolish?) lack of fear of humans.  Here in Pan de Azucar Park on the coast of northern Chile, it really has little to fear. Click to see big picture (640x400 pixels; 84 KB)
But even in the high ranges of Salta Province, Argentina, this fox seemed more curious that afraid.  It is hunted both for its pelt and to protect livestock. Click to see big picture (626x480 pixels; 162 KB)
The South American Grey Fox or Chilla (Lycalopex griseus). Click to see big picture (640x473 pixels; 100 KB)
The dark muzzle marks this as likely the Pampas Fox in Argentina (Lycalopex gymnocercus). Click to see big picture (640x395 pixels; 108 KB)
This dead fox has been hung by a rancher on a fence in the belief that it will scare other foxes and keep them away from his livestock. Click to see big picture (277x480 pixels; 66 KB)
As more people substitute pickup trucks for their mules, donkeys or burros; or simply move off the land, their animals are often turned loose, and form small herds in the wilder areas. Click to see big picture (592x480 pixels; 167 KB)
Wild mules etc. are subject to hunting, and those which are still owned should have clear markings in their ears, such as these.  Even tame animals sometimes escape, however. Click to see big picture (609x480 pixels; 113 KB)
The coast of Chile and Peru are also renown for their sea mammals.  This is the South American Fur Seal, also known as 'Lobo de Dos Pelos'.  (Arctocephalus australis). Click to see big picture (538x480 pixels; 94 KB)
Most of the pups of the South American Fur seal are white. fur seal
Larger and louder are the South American Sea Lions, referred to as the 'Lobo de Un Pelo' (Otaria flavescens).  Here seen sunning themselves, content in their more or less protected status. Click to see big picture (640x341 pixels; 72 KB)
The sea lion bulls tend to weigh in at over 300 kilograms and can stand as tall as a man. Click to see big picture (322x480 pixels; 93 KB)
A sea lion pup peers at the world over its protective mother. Click to see big picture (640x417 pixels; 101 KB)
This sea lion is dying.  It was likely hit by a boat or propeller, but despite the protected status, some are shot by fishermen. Click to see big picture (640x433 pixels; 126 KB)
The quiet but deadly war between some fishermen and anything that competes for "their" fish is discussed under fishing. Click to see big picture (640x453 pixels; 136 KB)