Costa Rica Animals Are Amazing

I'm no biologist. I don't know anything fancy to tell you about Costa Rica animals, except that they are incredible, beautiful, scary, and generally wonderful. I, Gringa, fell in love with the babies (orphans) being raised at the Jaguar Rescue Center south of Puerto Viejo.

Baby sloths and monkeys are often orphaned when their moms touch power lines, are attacked by dogs, or are killed by passing cars. This rescue center raises the young and returns them to the wild.

Howler monkeys: cute and LOUD

Costa Rica Animals: a baby monkey

This is a baby howler monkey being raised at the rescue center. Some of them really love to sit on a visitor's head and wrap a tail around said visitor's neck. Apparently, their tails are their strongest limb. Anyway, adult Howler Monkeys are all over Costa Rica, and boy do they raise a racket at dawn and dusk!

Imagine a rhinoceros stuck in a tree. Amplify that. That's what the howlers sound like. They're not very big, even full grown, so I don't know where they get all that lung power.

Sloths should not be called sloths

These creatures are peaceful, slow-moving, and appear to have a permanent smile on their faces. "Sloth" seems a little insulting for such charming beings.

Costa Rica Animals: baby sloth hanging on a branch

This little cutie is being raised at the rescue center, too. They spend several hours a day in small bushes like these and will cling to a volunteer "mama" any chance they get. We wanted to hold them, but it isn't possible because contact with certain soaps and perfumes can destroy the "moss" on their skin that helps them hide from predators in the wild. Sloths do very well when returned to the Costa Rica jungle because their major predator, the wild cats, have been hunted nearly to extinction.

A tame baby deer gave kisses

A hunter killed this baby deer's mother, then discovered this baby, two days old, right behind her. Did that hunter, perhaps, question his decision to hunt and kill Costa Rica animals? Don't know. But he did bring the baby to the rescue center, where she has become extremely tame and affectionate. Because of that, she won't be able to return to the wild--deer need mommies to teach them how to survive. This little one is free to roam as much as she wants to, and enjoys greeting visitors.

We saw several snakes, some in the wild

Costa Rica Animals: a baby yellow snake

Many of the snakes of Costa Rica are poisonous. We learned at the rescue center that young snakes are quite dangerous because they haven't yet learned how to control their venom and may release all of it on one bite. Generally, though, the snakes leave humans alone. The guide at the rescue center assured us that the antivenom in Costa RIca works for all their snakes, so as long as you get to a clinic pronto you will live even if bitten by a very poisonous snake.

Crocodiles, big and small

Costa Rica Animals: small crocodile

We saw this croc at the Los Lagos Resort, where we spent the morning ziplining (more on that elsewhere!). This is a young crocodile, and was surrounded only by a three-foot concrete enclosure. We were sad to see them in captivity but also excited to be so close. Costa RIca Animals: Crocodile The bigger croc is at the same resort, but surrounded by chain link fences. Los Lagos is full of Costa Rica animals. It has a fascinating ant farm, a butterfly garden (HUGE blue butterflies everywhere) and trees full of birds.

More pictures, please? Sure!

Two tiny baby sloths at the rescue center.

Costa Rica Animals: two baby sloths

Another shot of the baby monkey playing with visitors.

Costa Rica Animals: another baby monkey!

I couldn't get any good shots of the ENORMOUS spiders we encountered, but here's a real pretty spider web on a hanging bridge.

Costa Rica Animals: a ginormous spider web

This green parrot came to visit while we were chatting with fellow travelers at a cafe. He perched in the tree above us, then came down to gnaw on someone's backpack. We think he might be a former pet. Other Costa Rica animals we met but didn't photograph include a tiny red tree frog, birds (including a toucan in flight!) and all manner of insects.

Costa Rica Animals: a friendly parrot

Can't wait to meet them yourself, right?? Get your suitcase and read up on my travel tips first! Switcheroo from Costa Rica Animals to travel tips here.