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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

Life in the Sloth Lane - Day 531

People have commented on how busy we are. I can assure you that we really are not most of the time. We enjoy life in the slow lane, or today is it the Sloth lane?

This morning, other than coaching a lovely client for an hour and writing yesterday's blog, we pottered around. A bit of Duolingo, chatting with our host Eddie, getting our clothes washing done, a nice slow pace.

However, this afternoon we ventured out and went to the Metropolitan Nature Park, a beautiful 570-acre wildlife refuge from the ever-growing and buzzing Panama city. Despite still hearing the low rumble of the traffic, it was wonderful to be under the canopy of trees.

Just after entering the park, we came across a small pond with turtles poking their heads out from the murky water. A creature scampered over the water; sadly it was too fast to capture on film. I did manage to snap a photo of it when it was stationary.

We had heard that there was a couple of sloths in the rainforest. Were we going to be lucky? Suddenly we saw movement in the trees. Well, it certainly wasn't going to be a sloth. It was a family of monkeys. Also too quick for us to capture on film.

A couple walking behind us beckoned us back. They had spotted something in the tree. Yes, it was a sleeping sloth, all curled up.

We carried on, being careful where we were treading. There were many endless lines of marching Panamanian leafcutter ants carrying pieces of leaf above them at least ten times their size. The leaves looked like large bright green sails. What fascinating creatures.

I remember watching a programme about these insects. Each colony collects about 250kg of plant material per year. They feed not on the leaves but on the fungi that grow on the compost made from the rotting leaves.

We came to the next pathway and noticed a few people looking up. Hanging 6m up was another sloth, this one munching on leaves. We stood for ages watching, fascinated by this furry mammal with its long limbs and little smiling face. There was something about it that reminded me of ET.

Within the next five minutes, we saw a Central American Agouti scampered off, and a White-nosed Coati, which was too busy eating some fruit to be bothered by us. Wow! All of this wildlife right on the doorstep of Panama city.

We reached the peak and was greeted with fantastic views of the City skyline. The park is part of a chain of protected areas linking the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea. This lush green corridor is significant for the survival of many animals and provides water to the city and the Panama canal.

On our return, I was hoping to see another sloth, and I was not disappointed. I spotted one stretching from one spindly tree to another, having a leaf feast — what a treat, for it as well as us — what an excellent end to our time in Panama.

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