Friday, April 13, 2012

Costa Rican Reptiles & Amphibians

One of the aspects of Costa Rica I was most looking forward to was the wildlife viewing, and the country didn't disappoint!

We certainly had a little help at La Paz Waterfall Gardens thanks to features like their ranarium (frog exhibit). Taking one of their nighttime tours of the free range area was critical, as the little critters were much more active after dark.

Danelle took this great shot of an hourglass tree frog ...

... and another of this fellow who I think is a golden-eyed leaf frog, but it's hard to be completely sure from this angle.

Taryn made a great find in the changing area of the Eco Termales Hot Springs -- a glass frog on a shower door with a clutch of eggs stuck to her back.

Our guide and driver, Nancy and Raoul, orchestrated an effort to move it outside to safer ground. A cocoon made out of leaves was used to carry the mother-to-be and her precious cargo. And even though the eggs fell off in transit, Nancy was able to reapply them with a twig. Huzzah for teamwork!

A common basilisk, also known as a Jesus Christ lizard due to its ability to run on water. We saw this young male and a ton of his kin on our "safari float" down the Penas Blancas River.

An emerald basilisk on the shores of the Penas Blancas.

A spectacled caiman soaking up some sun.

Green iguanas apparently come in a variety of shades, including orange.

Restaurante Las Iguanas lived up to its name, with a number of the lizards like this intimidating-looking fellow roaming around the edges of the property.

A colorful Central American whiptail at Arenal Hanging Bridges.

We saw a three-foot boa constrictor on the side of the road as we were driving back to Arenal Observatory Lodge one evening. A local boy had apparently caught it and kept it for a week, then thought better of having a large snake for a pet and had just released it back into the wild.

A large American crocodile guarded a beach near where the main waterway through Tortuguero National Park emptied into the Caribbean Sea.

Tortuga Lodge had a number of hiking trails on the property, including the aptly named Poison Dart Frog Trail. I saw about 10 of these very tiny strawberry poison dart frogs on the hike I took, which was shorter than I'd originally intended thanks to two main factors.

One was the mosquitoes who laughed at my bug repellent and swarmed me whenever I stopped to take a picture, and the other was a very large shin-level spider web that I walked through along the trail. I didn't stop to see if it had an equally large spider in it, but instead found an immediate shortcut back to the lodge!

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