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HomeTravel articles & guidesAnimals in Costa Rica

Animals in Costa Rica

22 February, 2018
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Monkeys, tapirs, sea turtles, sloths and toucans. These are just some of the animals you can see on a tour to the Central American country, Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is home to more than 500,000 species of plants and animals.

Costa Rica has a multitude of animal species and living organisms in general. In fact, the country is one of the world’s top 20 countries with the greatest biodiversity.

In short: Costa Rica is paradise for nature and animal lovers.

Read on here, where we reveal seven of the animals you can see in the beautiful country.

Seven animals you can see in Costa Rica

The green sea turtle

The green sea turtle

Several different species of the amazing sea turtles can be seen in Costa Rica, including the green sea turtle, also known as the soup turtle.

Weighing 160–230 kg and with a 1–1.5 m long shell, the green sea turtle is the second largest sea turtle.

The huge tortoise feeds primarily on seaweed and other green plants, but it also eats jellyfish. The turtle’s name is most likely related to what it eats. Its cartilage and fat are green as a result of its sea plant-rich diet.

And the green sea turtle is extremely important to our ecosystem. It keeps the sea plants down, preventing the restriction of photosynthesis from particles. The sea turtle thus helps keep our earth healthy.

The green sea turtle can be seen from July to October, and it’s an amazing sight to see the huge animals moving gracefully through the water.

Can be seen in: Tortuguero National Park

The tapir


Weighing up to 300 kg and of a length of up to 2 metres, the tapir is the largest native Central American mammal.

The tapir is characterised by its long, trunk-like upper lip, which makes it easier for the animal to consume its food.

The tapir feeds primarily on fruit, twigs, leaves and grass, and is often spotted close to streams or the like. They’re good swimmers, too.

Many other animals live in herds, but not the tapir. A solitary creature, it can live to the age of 25–30.

Can be seen in: Tortuguero National Park and Monteverde National Park.

The white-headed capuchin monkey


When you come across the white-headed capuchin monkey, you’ll most likely see more than one of them. The monkeys live in troops of up to 30.

And they are survivors, in some cases living up to age of 54.

They are also highly intelligent. They eat everything they can get their hands on, whether it’s fruit, flowers, insects, eggs or something else entirely, and manage to grab most things with their cunning. So take care with any sandwiches or other delicious food you have with you, as the white-headed monkey is not timid.

The monkey is around 50 cm tall and is one of the animals in Costa Rica that is easiest to see up close.

Can be seen in: Manuel Antonio National Park

The sloth


High in the tree tops lives the sloth.

This incredibly charming animal sleeps up to 18 hours a day, eats leaves, and only comes down from the tree top once a week to relieve itself.

Every 2 or 3 days, the sloth finds a new tree, and thus new supplies of leaves.

The sloth moves very slowly. It has to due to its nutrition which, among other things, means that it has a low body temperature. The low nutritional content of the leaves they eat means that the sloth has no choice but to be lazy.

If you want to see a sloth, it will most likely be in the tree tops, its head hanging down like a bat.

Can be seen in: Tortuguero National Park and Manuel Antonio National Park.

The toucan

The Toucan

A bird you are very likely see on your Costa Rica tour is the toucan.

With its large, multicoloured beak, the bird is easily recognisable.

To spot the amazing bird, it’s a good idea to look up, so you can see it as it flies from tree top to tree top.

The toucan mainly eats fruit, but it does occasionally turn carnivore, eating birds’ eggs and other meaty dishes.

In addition to its characteristic, almost hollow beak, the toucan has a short, compact body. The bird is between 30 and 60 cm tall, and, like the green sea turtle, gives nature a helping hand by spreading the seeds from the fruit it eats.

Can be seen in: Manuel Antonio National Park, Arenal Vulcano National Park and La Fortuna.

The scarlet macaw


Sixteen of the world’s 350 or so parrot species are found in Costa Rica. And one of the most beautiful of them is the scarlet macaw. The bird’s beautiful red plumage makes it a sight to behold.

The macaw can be spotted in the tree tops, together with its mate, in the late afternoon. Parrots, the scarlet macaw in particular, are known to be faithful to their mate all their lives.

The macaw can live up to the age of 60 and is extremely talkative.

The scarlet macaw lives off nuts, fruit, seeds and flowers, but digests the food and therefore does not help nature in the way that the toucan and most other bird species do.

The macaw’s beak helps the bird keep its balance as it walks along the branches of trees, and its tongue is strong enough to get the pulp out of fruit, for example.
Can be seen in: Manuel Antonio National Park

The red-eyed tree frog


The red-eyed tree frog is hard to spot in the greenery of the rainforest, but as soon as it opens its eyes, there’s no mistaking it. The red of its eyes is a striking contrast to the shades of green.

Besides being the frog’s distinguishing feature, its eyes are also a defence mechanism. They can help the frog if it is under threat as the opponent is startled by the unique eyes.

The frog is nocturnal and eats other small, nocturnal animals such as insects, moths and crickets. During the day, the frog sleeps on its stomach under the foliage of the rainforest.

The male red-eyed tree frog waits for its mate. Once they have found each other and have to find somewhere to lay eggs, the female carries her mate around while they search. Along the way, they may meet another male who accompanies them – and can thus also fertilise the eggs.

Can be seen in: Tortuguero National Park and Arenal Volcano National Park.

Want to experience Costa Rica’s wildlife?

Costa Rica is a mecca for sensational animal experiences in beautiful scenery.

If you’ve been captivated by the amazing wildlife, find out which Costa Rica tour matches your wishes at Llamatours.co.uk.

Llamatours.co.uk – the Latin American Experience

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