Saturday, April 14, 2012

Costa Rican Mammals

We missed out on spying a few furry creatures in Costa Rica that we'd hoped to -- never saw a wild sloth, for instance -- but what we did see more than made up for what we didn't!

This jaguar in the jungle cats area of La Paz Waterfall Gardens wasn't interested in the steak she'd just been thrown by her keeper. She was looking intently at Taryn, who seemed like a better meal.

An ocelot showing her version of a monkey trying to get a banana out of a bottle. She eventually did get the chicken through, though not without much snarling at the keeper who was trying to help her.

Having guides for most of our trip was vital to noticing things we would have otherwise missed. Nancy, who was with us our entire time around Arenal, spotted a troop of howler monkeys along the road in some cecropia trees.

I don't think the juvenile here got any of the adult's fruit.

Another howler using her fifth limb to secure her spot in the tree.

An educational farm called Finca Educativa Don Juan that showcased sustainable agricultural practices had a young calf that hadn't been named. The mark on her head made Corazon -- "heart" in Spanish -- a fitting choice. And so she was dubbed there on the spot.

A group of long-nosed bats slept the day away, well camouflaged on the side of a tree along the Penas Blancas River.

Only once did we see wild monkeys that weren't howlers -- a small group of spider monkeys at Arenal Hanging Bridges.

Being a squirrel in Costa Rica is a pretty good deal. Instead of acorns, you eat fruit that are bigger than your head.

The animal I most wanted to see on the trip were coati, and there were a few lurking about the grounds at Arenal Observatory Lodge. They didn't sit still very long, constantly looking for food like their raccoon cousins here in the States. More than once they had to be shooed from the dining room.

These tracks adorned the beach one morning at the JW Marriott Guanacaste Resort. As much as I'd like to romanticize that they were made by a jaguar, it's more likely that they just belonged to a stray dog. But I can still dream otherwise. :)

On our last morning at the resort I struck out on my own for a walk. An employee parking lot led to a dirt road which led to a horse trail, which landed me smack in the middle of a small group of howler monkeys.

For about 15 minutes it was just them and me, and there was nowhere on Earth I would have rather been.

This mother and baby seemed to bid farewell not just to our brief time together that morning, but to the trip as a whole before we headed back to San Jose to catch our flight home.

Adios, monos!