Even more things that crawl, fly, run, swim, swing, and slither in Costa Rica!
They fly, run, scamper, swing, swim, burrow, and sometimes even waddle. They’re cute, cuddly, sleek, graceful, dangerous and sometimes even deadly. But no matter what the species on land, sea, or air, Costa Rican animals are downright fascinating.
In fact, Costa Rica holds about 5% of the world’s biodiversity of plants, animals and insects – with more than 500,000 species – despite being only as big as West Virginia!
In part one of this blog, we introduced ten of our best animals, mammal, and reptile friend that you might get to meet if you visit Costa Rica. The response on social media and our blog was overwhelming, with many people asking for more! So here are ten more unique, exotic, and beautiful animals from Costa Rica:
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Sea turtles can be found in many parts of the world, but Costa Rica definitely boasts the greatest concentration and variety of any nation. In fact, five of the seven species of sea turtles nest on the beaches of the Central American nation, where you can find leatherbacks, green, loggerhead, and hawksbill. But the most famous of Costa Rican sea turtles if the olive ridley, also called the arribada, which is Spanish for “arrival by sea.”
An incredible natural rite that’s worth witnessing in Costa Rica is when tens of thousands of sea turtles come to shore, laying their eggs in the sand before leaving en masse. This happens up to eight times a year and even scientists haven’t figured out how they know when it’s time to do this. Approximately two months later, the eggs hatch and hundreds of thousands of newborn turtles make their way back to the ocean to swim away.
There are plenty of beaches up and down the coast where you can see this, but the Ostional National Wildlife Refuge is one of the best.
Animals in Costa Rica, Sea Turtle Costa Rica, Costa Rica Turtle, Travel Costa Rica, Costa Rica Wildlife, Costa Rica Animals, Costa Rica Monkeys, Squirrel MonkeyRed Backed Squirrel Monkey
Squirrel monkeys are frequently encountered in South America, but in Central and North America they’re usually only found living in the southern part of Costa Rica near the Panamanian border. Researchers originally theorized that Red Backed Squirrel Monkeys were first brought to Costa Rica by pre-Columbian traders, but now it’s believed that they migrated north around 2 million years ago and started to die out, enduring only in a little pocket in Costa Rica. They are now considered to be North America’s most endangered species of monkey.
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These are some of the most intelligent and evolved animals on earth, actually using tools, weapons, and other implements from their environment to get food. They’re also one of the only animals to use natural medicine, rubbing certain plants over their bodies in what appears to be a use of herbal medicine. White Headed Capuchin Monkeys live in groups of 40 or so and have an astounding life expectancy of 54 years. White Headed Capuchins are easily spotted in most of the National Parks in Costa Rica.
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Ocelots are nocturnal cats that populate every country south of the U.S. except for Chile. They’re about twice the size of a normal housecats, ranging from 38 to 60 inches long and 20 to 35 pounds. Since they are lighter than other large cats like pumas, cougars, mountain lions, etc. and have huge paws, they’re great at climbing trees. Once hunted for their furs so much that they were listed as a vulnerable species, ocelots have replenished their numbers and now are frequent in Costa Rica – though their habitat, like many animals’ – is shrinking because of commercial development.
Animals in Costa Rica, Sea Turtle Costa Rica, Costa Rica Turtle, Travel Costa Rica, Costa Rica Wildlife, Costa Rica Animals, Birds Costa Rica, Toucan Costa RicaChestnut-Mandibled Toucan
Toucans sail and swoon through the sky in the Costa Rican rainforest, emitting a unique yipping call. You can usually distinguish their flight patterns from other birds because they rise with a few flaps of their wings but then the weight of their beaks pulls them down again, so they rarely fly in a straight line like other birds. The Chestnut-Mandibled Toucan is largest species of toucan in Central America and eats fruit, insects, and an occasional small snake. In Costa Rica, they prefer the wet forest lowlands of the Caribbean and Cordillera de Talamanca up to Carara on the Pacific side of the country.
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When biologist Charles Darwin embarked on his legendary voyage in the Americas, he documented 14 species of finches – birds that were later named “Darwin finches.” Of those 14 species, 13 lived in the Galapagos Islands but only one species lives elsewhere; you guessed it – in Costa Rica. In fact, the rare and beautiful 14th species of finch inhabited the island of Cocos off the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. The Cocos finches were remarkable because unlike most finches that evolved sharper or different-shaped beaks to eat specific diets, these finches ate just about everything front nuts to crustaceans. Since their island was so small, they had to eat whatever food sources were available, on the island, which still doesn’t have human settlers living there.
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Costa Rica has several species and types of iguanas, including the Green Iguana, which can get up to 6 feet long! But despite their size they’re not dangerous to humans, eating only plants, insects, and small animals (unless you force yourself onto a nest, in which case the mother might whip her tail at you, which can cause some damage). Black Iguanas are full herbivores, and Costa Ricans call them garrobos or gallina de palo – which translates to ‘tree chicken’ in English – because their meat is said to taste like chicken. In Costa Rica you’ll also see plenty of smaller Geckos, climbing up walls, across ceilings, eating mosquitos and pesky insects, and making their signature amplified chirping noises that often perplex first-time vistors.