Flora and Fauna

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CarpinchoThe islands on the Paraná River, especially those further away from Rosario, have resisted the influx of European species sown and harvested for timber and contain their own unique vegetation and diverse wildlife.

Water birds are, of course, the most populous and can be seen everywhere around the islands. These include ducks, herons, seagulls, storks and swans. Other typical species are parrots, cardinals, woodpeckers and falcon-like predators. In fact, 263 species of birds have been sighted and registered.

There are also many mammals such as the smaller rodents and the carpincho, one of the largest rodents in the world weighing in at an average of 50 kgs (110lbs), an excellent swimmer and unfortunately hunted for its valuable skin to be used in the manufacture of expensive leather products and its tasty meat. Other mammals are the gray fox, wildcats, occasionally pumas, skunks, weasels and the very cute lobito de rio (river wolf), which is similar to an otter in its habits and appearance. Nutrias (hunted for their highly valuable fur) and bats play a vital role in the eco-system by distributing pollen. Water snakes help keep the smaller rodent population under control while frogs and toads take care of the clouds of insects. Turtles too have their niche in the environment. It is shame that most of these wonderful creatures are extremely shy and hide from the encroaching human factor.

The flora resembles a primeval jungle. The hardwood white algarrobo (Prosopis Alba) unfortunately, is slowly disappearing into people’s homes in the shape of long-lasting furniture. It also provides a delicious edible fruit. Lianas (hanging vines), huge ferns, thorny trees and vines including that used as incense complete the Stephen Spielberg effect.

The Tala (Celtis Tala) formed forests over the centuries and is so far surviving human depredation due to its vigorous reproductive capacity. It is a short tree with a twisted trunk and very hard wood used to provide heat. The local variant of weeping willow decorates most of the island coasts. Beautiful rushes populate almost every island. They are harvested and used to make all kinds of baskets later sold in Rosario.

The Ceibo TreeThe Ceibo tree, (Argentina’s national flower) with its deeply red flowers decorates the landscape together with the violet flowers of lotus-like plants floating around the edges of the coasts.

For more information about touring or staying on one of the islands, please see Things to Do.

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