More Wildlife of Costa Rica
Yes they do live in the USA too .. not to be confused with the Alligator .. a quick ID tip .. alligators have broader snouts. you shouldn't get confused in Costa Rica though as they don't have any alligators. Costa Rica does have probably the largest population of American Crocodiles in Central America. These huge reptiles can grow up to 7 metres in length although 4.5 metres is usually the biggest you will see. They are the same size as alligators but two thirds of their weight, this makes them surprisingly fast movers when they need to be.
This impressive creature was photographed in the Tortuguero National Park on the Caribbean side of the country.
This remarkable leaf mimic insect was seen while we were on a night walk in the cloudforest near Monteverde. It's a little blurred as I was having to manually focus the camera while at the same time illuminate the subject with a torch.
"Great Tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus)"
Not an uncommon bird in Costa Rica it can be seen just about anywhere with perhaps the exception of forested regions. It was the only bird that stayed still long enough for me to photograph!
"Another Squirrel Monkey"
This one also photographed in the grounds of the Villa Teca Hotel, near Quepos.
Can anyone identify this tiny lizard? I'm not very good at identifying small creatures!
"Hummingbird - Purple Throated Mountain Gem"
I think, or possibly one of half a dozen different varieties .. not always easy to identify. Hummingbirds are swine to photograph as they don't keep still for a second and trying to get the camera to focus on them is frustratingly difficult .. then if it's raining heavily too ..
"Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)"
Not 100% certain because the photo does not give a good idea of scale but the colouring certainly matches that of the Little Blue Heron so that's what it is until somebody tells me otherwise! Photographed in the Tortuguero national Park
"Bare Throated Tiger Heron (Tigrisoma mexicanum)"
Bit more certain on this one! Again photographed in the Tortuguero National Park.
Wildlife of Costa Rica
This does not even pretend to come close to a comprehensive guide to the wildlife of Costa Rica just a few of the animals you may see. What you see will depend on where you are in the country and what the weather is doing. If it's bucketing down like it was for several days when I was in Costa Rica then unfortunately you won't see much wildlife.
Northern Racoon - More commonly associated with North America it can come as a surprise to visitors to discover that Racoons are also found in Costa Rica. The Northern Racoon is the same species found in the USA but the Costa Rican racoons are slightly smaller. You are more likely to see racoons in the evening as they are largely nocturnal.
This racoon was photographed in the grounds of the Hotel Villa Teca near Quepos on the Pacific coast. Earlier that evening I had been visited by five racoons, a female and four young ones whose glowing eyes were seen peering at me from a palm tree outside my room. The female shown here was begging for scraps outside the restaurant kitchen.
"White Faced Capuchin"
The second smallest of the four Costa Rican monkeys but by far the easiest to see and photograph. This one was photographed in the Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific coast. A word of warning, Capuchins can be quite aggressive, it's not unusual for them to hurl sticks at people who get too close .. just accept it as one of the hazards of photographing wildlife!
"Two Toed Sloth"
Consider yourself lucky if you see one of these in the daytime, these slow moving mammals spend their lives in the trees and only descend once a week to defecate. There are two species of Sloth in Costa Rica, the above mentioned Two Toed variant and the smaller Three Toed Sloth. The latter is more commonly seen as it is also active in the daytime unlike the Two Toed Sloth which is largely nocturnal. Both species often have a form of algae growing on their shaggy fur which is why they can appear greenish in colour
The smallest, rarest and most endangered species of monkey in Costa Rica. Found only on the Pacific side of the country the Squirrel Monkey really is a tiny little thing that chirrups much like a sparrow. This little chap was one of a troupe of Squirrel Monkeys that invaded the premises of the Hotel Villa Teca one morning.
This is the only photo here that wasn't taken in the wild, this was taken at the Parque Viborana near Turrialba. Eyelash Vipers are not usually this bright yellow colour, this is a rare mutation.
"Fer de Lance"
One of the world's most poisonous snakes and this was just 600cm or so off the path where we were walking. It pays to look where you are going! It was asleep and it's head facing away from me so I deemed it safe to get close up and photograph it. had it been facing me no way would I have got so close!
The picture was taken in the Carara National Park near the Rio Tarcoles.
But it's orange! I hear you cry .. indeed it is, during the mating season november-December the males turn bright orange in colour. Green Iguanas are tree dwellers and can grow up to 2 metres in length.
Also known as the Spiny Tailed Iguana or Black Spiny Tailed Iguana, the Ctenosaur is smaller than the Green Iguana. Ctenosaurs like other Iguanas are territorial and if another encroaches on it's territory the lizard will give a warning sign, this involves a vigorous nodding of the head. Ctenosaurs will also "nod" at photographers who get too close .. if you fail to heed the warning the lizard will perform a trick known as "running away" thus denying you of that close up shot you desired.