Monday, May 14, 2012

Brazil's Drylands

The Caatinga Biome, shown on the upper right in this map of Brazil, occupies more than  850,000 square kilometers - almost ten percent of the country's total area.
How big is that?
Very: the Caatinga Biome is four times larger than New England, twice the size of California, fifty percent larger than France, almost twenty times the size of Denmark.
The name Caatinga is derived from two words in the Tupi language, one meaning "white" and the other meaning "forest" or "vegetation". 

And one glance is sufficient for any visitor to understand why the indigenous people might have called it that, because the dominant tone of the vegetation is, indeed, white.

The Caatinga is a tropical semi-desert…
 …possessed of a variety of landscapes…

 …packed with unusual plants…


 …and birds, some of which can be found nowhere else in the world.

Insects, too, of course. Unfortunately.
There are only two distinguishable seasons: the winter, when it is very hot and dry...

...and the summer when it is hot and rainy.

So, if you don’t like hot, you don’t want to go there.

But, if you’re in the market for an entirely unique experience, and can put up with a bit of discomfort, Brazil’s Caatinga is waiting for you.
Leighton - Monday


  1. Do you have any idea how North American raccoons made it to Brazil? I wasn't aware their range had extended that far. Perhaps they had human help?

  2. Sandy, I'm sure Leighton can give you a better answer than my surmise, but I believe that masked character in the photo is a raccoon indigenous to Brazil's part of the planet and related to the coati. Not sure which came first, the North American or South American version, but as you suggest I'd bet there's a a bit of "collaboration" in the family tree.

  3. Sandy, the creature is, indeed, a South American coati.
    We call 'em quatis.
    And you can read more about them here:

    Thanks, Jeff, for checking in on my behalf.

  4. Gosh, will wonders never cease about Brazil? There are constant surprises here.

    Glad to know about the coati. Is that folded-up character an armadillo?


  5. Hi Kathy,

    Yup, an armadillo. Cute, huh?