Furry Things

Costa Rica is full of furry things…some expected and some not so much… despite its very high levels of biodiversity, the region isn’t known for a great range of large mammals. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t some pretty cool creatures to be seen…

Here is a juvenile male howler monkey I met while crossing the bridge at La Selva. He seemed to be having a good time climbing around on the cables and only acknowledged me when I did my best monkey howl…

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A few days later I ran into what I think is the same howler and decided to get in a yelling match with him. I took this picture mid-howl…

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Monkeys are probably the most charismatic mammals in Costa Rica, but there is another, more enigmatic mammal which frequents the rainforest. Often feared, and poorly understood, I refer to the bat. Costa Rica is home to many types of bat, including fruit bats, frog-eating bats, vampire bats and nectar bats.

I have already had many encounters with bats so far, including one who decided to live in my room for a couple of days. Considering their nocturnal inclinations, it is ironic that my most interesting bat experience occurred in the middle of the day…

While I was walking through the large botanical gardens at Las Cruces Biological Station, I noticed a large palm leaf who’s leaflets were all folded down forming a conical tent. I decided to investigate, and looking up inside the tent from below this is what I saw…

IMG_3570These two fruit bats (Artibeus) where hanging together from the center of the leaf, and seemed as surprised to see me as I was to see them. These, as it turns out are tent-making fruit bats, named as such because they structurally alter the palm leaf to form this tent-structue, which is used as a roost.

The La Selva suspension bridge seems to be a wildlife hotspot, and a few days ago, this three-toed sloth was very slowly making its way from end to another. The greenish tint to it’s fur is actually algae, which happily grows in the absence of grooming.

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Mammals are certainly not the only furry creatures in Costa Rica, and one perhaps unexpected example is this rather furry catipillar I found on the underside of a leaf in the Las Cruces gardens…

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