The Llanos

The Llanos is a seasonally flooded grassland that covers nearly one-third of Venezuela and more than one-eighth of Colombia. It is most flooded in the central part which occurs on the huge saucer-shaped depression that contains the floodplain of the mighty Rio Orinoco. Underlying Precambrian rocks choreograph the shallow basin’s broad dips and rises, while recent sediments provide it with its character, creating a mosaic effect of different habitats, both within the flooded area and in the drier extremities.A great diversity of wildlife exists, many of the most specialized occurring around rocky outcrops. The Llanos is most famous for its swamp-based wildlife of Orinoco goose, scarlet ibis, and capybara, as well as a host of migrant species. Flooding is at a maximum between July and October. In the dry season many watercourses dry up, leaving the larger rivers and the clay-panned estuaries to slake the thirst. The Llanos has over 3,400 recorded flowering plants, 40 of which are unique to this area. Among the 475 bird species is the Orinoco soft-tail, while included among the 148 mammals is the Llanos long-nosed armadillo. The area’s reptiles include the green anaconda, the world’s largest snake species, and the rare Orinoco crocodile