| Animal life in Costa Rica
|Costa Rica is only the size of West Virginia, but contains 200 different species of hummingbird and more species of exotic bird than all of North America. Wildlife abounds in Costa Rica and we encountered several interesting creatures during the week.
Leaf-cutter ants - I have always loved studying ants and love watching documentaries about them. They are marvelously interesting little creatures, but I never thought I would get to see them in the wild in such large numbers. I discovered a wealth of ants when Dan parked our 4X4 over top of one of their main entranceways. Dan suffered a bite or two, but I was unscathed. I messed with them for a while and loved it!! They had a rather laissez-faire attitude about encountering us, equivalent to a "don't bother us and we won't bother you" attitude.
There must have been several hundred thousand of them, maybe millions. They had several different "hubs" where they were carrying their leafs. Each hole was about the size of a tennis ball and they had lines of ants that extended in all directions for many yards. I followed some of the lines and would walk twenty or thirty yards before seeing where each originated. However, the holes were the most interesting part. Ants would pour out of a hole and immediately enter one of the "highways" that traveled to the next destination. I was standing only a foot or two away from a major entrance and was never bothered. There were millions of ants scurrying around in total chaos, yet it was all scripted like a well-organized machine - amazing!
In addition to these animals, I also saw turkey vultures, macaws, beautiful stallions, interesting mussels, a bizarre little hedgehog-like creature, and a porpoise swam up and shot air at Dan while he was surfing. I saw a lot of interesting creatures, but what did you expect, I was in the jungle!
|baby three-toed sloth|
|A local groundskeeper at the Villas Rio Mar found a baby three-toed sloth that had become separated from its mother. I scurried for my video camera and asked him if I could hold it. He let me hold the little guy and he was the cutest little animal I had ever seen in my life. The three-toed sloth is a unique creature that is rare in most areas around the world and an endangered species is some. He moved very slow and was completely helpless. He had large, adorable eyes and he was soft and furry. He also had sharp teeth, because he bit me on the finger. Sloths eat plant life exclusively, so I don't think he was interested in eating me. I think that he may have thought I was his mother. I only got to hold him for a couple minutes and then the groundskeeper took him away. I don't know what happened to the poor, little animal, he was too fragile to survive apart from his mother and the hope of finding his home seemed remote.
|White faced Monkeys|
|White-faced monkeys - Once inside Manuel Antonio National Park, white-faced monkeys become as common as tourists. In fact, at times they outnumbered us! They are cute little guys and they will come remarkably close to you. I've loved these kinds of monkeys since one of them stole the show in Buster Keaton's masterpiece film, "the Cameraman." Be careful if you go swimming and leave interesting objects on the shore. They are curious little guys and will carry your items away to "investigate" them before dropping them out of a tree or something.
| Iguanas can be found throughout Costa Rica and there was seldom a place I went all week where I didn't see one. I love those things!! They are so cool!! They look quite intimidating, but they really just want to be left alone and they will run from anyone who approaches them. They wiggle their tails when they run away and it creates a very comical look that made me giggle all week. Iguanas litter the beach areas around Manuel Antonio and one can see them sunbathing in a variety of areas. They look like mini-dinosaurs or alligators or something, and I began to see a real beauty in them by the end of my trip.
|Giant Hermit Crabs|
|We saw a lot of hermit crabs in Manuel Antonio. They littered the ground at some places and some of them had shells as large as a tennis ball! I picked a few up, but when they came out of their shell, I got a creepy feeling and let them go.
| Crabs litter coral reefs around the shore, but they are very shy and easy to scare away. They are especially prevalent when the tides are moving as they move about the reefs looking for barnacles to consume.
|Costa Rica 2000
The Village of Dominical
Playa Matapalo/Quepos/Manuel Antonio
What I learned on this trip
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