15 Most Amazing Costa Rica Animals

Located in the heart of North America is the nation of Costa Rica. The world’s most exquisite plant and animal species can be found there. The Costa Rica animals are some of the most exotic species ever found in the world.

Costa Rica, which means ‘rich nation‘ in English, is one of those countries that lives up to its name in terms of the diversity of life forms it supports. It is regarded as having some exceptionally rich biodiversity.

1. 15 Exotic Costa Rica Animals and Birds

The rich and varied exotic wildlife of this nation is well-known around the world. Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse places in the world, with over 500,000 species, many of which are uncommon, endangered, or indigenous.

1.1 Jesus Christ Lizard (Basiliscus Basiliscus)

The Common Basilisk is popularly called the Jesus Christ Lizard because it can walk on water. These crested lizards often live in the depths of tropical rainforests and are native to Central and South America.

These harmless lizards are extremely shy and afraid of humans. These lizards have a top speed of over 11 km/h.

The fringes on the basilisk’s feet are just one of its many adaptations. The lizard can walk on the water’s surface without sinking because of these modifications.

1.2 Red Eyed Tree Frogs(Agalychnis callidryas)

The best-known frog in Costa Rica is the red-eyed tree frog, often called the red-eyed tree frog. It is a species of arboreal animal that dwells on treetops. It has excellent climbing and jumping abilities.

It is famous for its distinctive red eyes and uses insects and leaves as hiding places. The tropical lowlands of central South America are home to this stunning and colourful species. They use their bright red eyes to alarm their predators.

1.3 Glass Frogs(Hyalinobatrachium fleischmanni)

Glass frogs exist only in Central and South America. They are found in mountain forests at medium and low elevations in tropical regions. Some of these frog species have a translucent underside, hence their name.

They have a life expectancy of about 14 years in the wild. Glass frogs can jump far. They have excellent camouflage abilities and are nocturnal.

They usually lay their eggs on the abaxial surface of leaves. The male glass frogs protect their eggs. Glass frogs are carnivores and deforestation is their greatest threat.

1.4 Margays (Leopardus wiedii)

Margays are dainty wild cats with brown or yellow spots native to Central and South America. Because of their flexible ankles, they can climb down trees upside down. Margays can dangle from a branch with one hind foot.

Males perform a well-choreographed mating dance to impress females. They are not social creatures. Margay generally lives solitary lives and only comes together to mate.

Margays are ambush hunters, eating fruit, eggs, small mammals, and reptiles. The population density of the Margays is very low. Its conservation status is near threatened.

1.5 Eyelash Viper (Bothriechis schlegelii)

Costa Rica AnimalsPhoto by Werner Eckhard from Pixabay /Copyright 2019

There is an abundance of colour variations in the eyelash viper. They are often found in the colour yellow, which is referred to by locals as ‘Oropel’, meaning extremely bright or showy. Yellow eyelash vipers can be mistaken for bananas because of their colour.

The eyelash viper is often sold in the exotic animal trade and is heavily represented in zoos around the world, despite the dangerous nature of its venom. In captivity, it is often bred for its colour and markings.

Eyelash vipers can kill a human with their venom and are among the fastest strikers in the world.

1.6 Leatherback Sea Turtles (Dermochelys coriacea)

The largest type of turtle in the world is the leatherback. The leatherback turtle is the sole species of turtle in existence without scales and a hard shell. The leatherback turtle’s name derives from its hard shell, which looks like stretchy leather.

The current form of the leatherback turtle dates back to the age of the dinosaurs. To get to their breeding grounds, leatherback turtles have to swim more than 10,000 kilometres a year. Leatherback turtles can stay submerged for up to 85 minutes.

1.7 Green Sea Turtles (Chelonia mydas)

The largest sea turtle with a hard shell is the green sea turtle. More than 150 million years ago, the ancestors of sea turtles moved from land to water. One of the rare species with such a long evolutionary history, they lived through the extinction of the dinosaurs.

Sea turtles are skilled divers that can spend a lot of time underwater. Its name derives from the greenish colour of their fat and cartilage, not from the colour of their shell.

1.8 Collared Peccaries (Dicotyles tajacu)

Photo by Ruben Wijnheijmer from Unsplash /Copyright 2022

The white hairs form a collar around its neck, giving this species its name. Although they look similar to pigs, they are different from pigs.

“Musk pig” is another name for this species because of the pungent odour produced by its scent glands, which it uses to mark its territory.

Collared peccaries communicate with their conspecifics mainly through sounds, as they have underdeveloped vision. They have very pointed teeth in their jaws. The closely spaced canines of these animals are very sharp.

1.9 Great Green Macaws (Ara ambiguus)

Where their ranges overlap, the Great Green Macaw can easily be confused with the Military Macaw due to its similar appearance.

Generally, macaws mate for life. The pair bond is so strong that the birds remain close to each other. They usually fly beside each other, even when the pair flies with their flock.

They use their powerful bills to open nutshells. To chew fruit, macaws use their dry, scaly, bone-filled tongues. Fewer than 2,500 adult green macaws still live in the wild.

1.10 Scarlet Macaws (Ara Macao)

The Scarlet Macaw is native to moist evergreen forests of Central and South America. In captivity, the Scarlet Macaw has a life expectancy of 80 years and lives up to 40- 50 years in the wild.

They also have feet that help them to manipulate food, twigs, and other tools. Toucans, monkeys, jaguars, and harpy eagles are its main predators.

They begin mating in October and do so until April. The macaws typically live together for their entire lives. They construct their nests in the top branches of deciduous trees. The females can lay about 1 to 4 eggs per clutch, and both sexes care for the hatchlings.

1.11 Squirrel Monkeys (Saimiri)

Squirrel monkeys are also called mono titis. They have the biggest brains relative to the body mass of any primates in the world. These are Costa Rica’s most popular monkey species.

Adult monkeys usually use this part of their body as a support to maintain balance. Only juvenile members of this species have a prehensile tail.

The squirrel monkey uses its keen eyesight and ability to distinguish colours to quickly find fruit in the dense forest flora of its natural habitat. The group uses about 25 to 30 different sounds for communication.

1.12 Blue Jeans Dart Frog (Oophaga pumilio)

One of Costa Rica’s most popular amphibians is the strawberry dart frog, commonly known as the blue jeans frog. Because it is a nocturnal animal and has a large population density in some areas of Costa Rica, this colourful species is simple to spot.

Each Blue Poison Dart Frog has a distinct pattern of spots that is unique to it. The poisonous substances found in a poison dart frog’s skin are derived from its prey, particularly the ants it consumes.

In this species, the males are territorially hostile. Males call throughout the day from perches atop rocks, fallen logs, or trees to draw females and chase off other males. These frogs wrestle with rival males to establish dominance over a territory.

1.13 Blue Morpho Butterflies (Morpho peleides)

With wings that range from five to eight inches long, the Blue Morpho is one of the largest butterflies in the world. The Blue Morpho butterfly is the one creature that is most well-known throughout Costa Rica.

The blue hue is a structural colour and not the result of pigment. They live about three months from egg to butterfly. There are also poisonous blue morpho butterflies.

As caterpillars, they were dangerous to predators because the leaves they ate contained a poisonous substance. Decomposing fruits, plant juices, dirt, fungi, and even dead animals are on the menu of adult morpho butterflies.

1.14 Baird’s Tapirs (Tapirus bairdii)

The Baird’s tapir is one of four species of Tapir found in the wild and is unique to Costa Rica. The largest natural mammal in the region is Baird’s tapir. It is Belize’s emblematic animal.

Tapirs have huge stomachs. A day’s meal can weigh more than 70 pounds (30 kilograms). Baird’s tapirs are herbivores.

This animal’s prehensile nose is flexible and can move in all directions. Tapirs spend time in the water to remove parasites and cool off.

1.15 White-Faced Capuchin Monkeys (Cebus imitator)

photo by Joy Ernst from Unsplash/ Copyright 2018

One of the most widely distributed monkeys is the white-faced capuchin. Social interaction and communication are very important in their lives

The prehensile tails of these primates serve as a fifth limb, that gives them support. They use their tails to grasp objects such as branches. These intelligent and tame primates can be trained. As a result, they are often used as service animals for quadriplegics around the world.

Capuchin monkeys use distinctive sounds to warn the rest of their group when they detect a predator. The only species in the capuchin subfamily that occurs in Central America is the white-headed capuchin.

2. National Parks in Costa Rica

Image by Frank Ravizza from Pixabay

Costa Rica’s national parks and reserves are an elaborate network of freshwater and marine resources and lush, pristine rainforests. Three of Costa Rica’s national parks have been recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites.

Some of the most popular national parks in Costa Rica, popular with tourists and wildlife lovers, are:

2.1 Manuel Antonio National Park

In Manuel Antonio National Park, you will find the ideal mix of ecosystems, making wildlife viewing easy. The animals in Manuel Antonio National Park are accustomed to living alongside visitors. The park is easily accessible and compact.

Animals living in the park include raccoons, three- and two-toed sloths, monkeys, anteaters, pacas, coatis, and ocelots. Among the most popular animals in Manuel Antonio National Park are:

2.1.1 Spider Monkeys(Ateles geoffroyi)

Spider monkeys got their name because they can cling to various branches, and their long tail and limbs resemble a spider.

Because of their arboreal lifestyle, spider monkeys rarely move on the ground. When these monkey soldiers meet, they hug to express their friendliness and avoid potential conflict or hostility.

Because they are found exclusively in Corcovado and Manuel Antonio, red-backed spider monkeys, also known as mono-titis, are a popular attraction.

2.1.2 Three-Toed Sloths(Bradypus tridactylus)

The two-toed and three-toed sloths are the two varieties of sloths found in Costa Rica. Manuel Antonio National Park houses both varieties. Three-toed sloths are easier to spot.

These sloths have scratchy gray fur that occasionally looks green due to algae buildup. They also wear a conspicuous black mask.

The three-toed sloth is restricted to warm environments because, unlike most other mammals, it cannot maintain a constant body temperature.

2.1.3 Howler Monkeys(Alouatta)

The forests of Latin America house a variety of monkeys. Howler monkeys are the biggest primates in the New World, and their cries are significantly loud. This deep, guttural sound is the reason for their name.

They announce their territory with a howl. Since they have prehensile tails, their tail serves as an additional hand. With its help, they can swing themselves onto branches or pick fruit from the trees. They can recognize ripe fruits from a distance of two kilometres.

Howlers sleep most of the day because they feed mainly on leaves and flowers, which offer little energy.

2.2 Corcovado National Park

The park is located in the isolated Osa Peninsulas’ southwest region in the country’s far south. This little tourist site is a hotspot to watch various animals.

The park houses many creatures, including Baird’s tapirs, ocelots, pumas, gigantic anteaters, and harpy eagles. Significant animals in Corcovado National Park include the following:

2.2.1 Silky Anteaters(Cyclopes didactylus)

The smallest anteaters still alive are called silky anteaters. The Corcovado National Park is where you can view these creatures. They have thick, supple fur with a silvery sheen ranging from grey to yellowish.

Its name alludes to the two claws on the animal’s forefeet. Ants form the majority part of the silky anteaters’ diet. All anteaters, even adults, lack teeth. They grab their prey with their lengthy, sticky tongue.

2.2.2 Jaguars(Panthera onca)

The apex of the food chain stalk-and-ambush predator is the jaguar. It ranks third among all cats in terms of size. The jaws of the jaguars at Corcovado National Park are strong enough to fracture heads.

They are adept climbers and frequently wait atop trees to survey their surroundings for potential prey.

2.2.3 American Crocodile(Crocodylus acutus)

The American Crocodile is a threatened species found in Corcovado National Park. Because of its stealth hunting style and powerful bite, this crocodile is extremely dangerous.

These exotic animals are often sluggish or immobile to blend in, but when attacking their prey, they move astonishingly quickly. Their bodies also enable them to shift from ground to water and vice versa.

2.3 Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

These enchanted cloud forests in Monteverde, Costa Rica, seem like something out of a fantasy world. Some of the most unusual animals on the globe can be found in the Monteverde Cloud Forest.

The park is home to many creatures, including two-toed sloths, red-eyed tree frogs, howler monkeys, jaguars, white-faced capuchins, blue butterflies, and toucans. Popular animals in Corcovado National Park include the following:

2.3.1 Resplendent Quetzals(Pharomachrus mocinno)

The skin of the quetzal is delicate and tears easily, which is why it has developed a thick plumage for protection. The quetzal’s plumage looks green but is brown due to the pigment melanin.

The large eyes of the quetzal, like those of other Trogon family members, allow it to adapt to the low light of its natural habitat in the jungle. The ancient Aztecs and Mayans revered the bright green tail feathers of the quetzal, which symbolize the growth of plants in spring.

The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in the ‘north of the country is home to the most famous quetzal habitat in Costa Rica, if not the world.

2.3.2 Two-toed Sloths(Choloepus didactylus)

Northern South America and all of Central America are home to two-toed sloths. This sloth resembles a tiny dog in both size and shape. In comparison to the three-toed sloth, the two-toed is slightly larger.

Each of their long, slender arms has two or three claws that curve around and latch onto the branches. The presence of algae and mildew causes the green hue of its fur. It uses its claw to grab branches as it spends significant time hanging upside down.

The eye and hearing acuity of sloths is low. They search for food using touch and smell techniques. Their slow metabolism protects them from succumbing to injuries that would kill other mammals their size.

2.3.3 White-Tailed Deer(Odocoileus virginianus)

America has a significant population of white-tailed deer. Although rarely seen because it hides from predators, it is a popular food source for many species in the Monteverde Cloud Forest.

Between dawn and dusk, white-tailed deer roam in search of food. The eyesight and hearing of white-tailed deer are excellent. The antlers grow only in male deer, which they shed annually. White-tailed deer can swim well to escape from predators.

3. Wildlife Tourism in Costa Rica

Costa Rica has distinctive biodiversity. National parks, reserves, and protected areas are said to preserve more than 25% of the total area. Hunting is banned in the country. The geographical position and appropriate climatic conditions favour the country’s rich biodiversity.

The Uvita, Manuel Antonio, Osa Peninsula, Puerto Viejo, Tortuguero, Cahuita, Palo Verde National Park, Gandoca Manzanillo, Cao Negro Wildlife Refuge, Monteverde, Sarapiqui, La Fortuna and Corcovado National Park are the finest places to view wildlife in Costa Rica.

It is home to some of the most exotic beings on the planet. Costa Rica is a haven for individuals who value the natural world. This country also takes the appropriate measures to preserve its species.

4. FAQs

What Makes Costa Rica Famous?

Costa Rica is known for its stunning national parks, where visitors can enjoy exciting activities such as zip-line, canyoning, river rafting, and cave tubing. Costa Rica’s animals and the environment offer an amazing experience.

What Animals Are Popular in Costa Rica Known?

Costa Rica is a must for animal lovers as it is home to sloths, monkeys, anteaters, and whales, including other Costa Rica Animals like humpback whales, tapirs, and toucans.

Is Hunting Legal in Costa Rica?

When the people of Costa Rica observed the decline of wildlife due to hunting, especially sport hunting, they expressed their concern. As a result of their actions, which led to the first revision of the Law for the Protection of Wildlife, the country prohibited hunting.

Which Month Is Ideal for Travel to Costa Rica?

The optimal period for travel to Costa Rica is when the sky is the clearest and most brilliant. Travelling in May, June, or even November is recommended. During this period, you can observe the changing seasons, and the nature reserves are less crowded.

When Are Turtles Sighted in Costa Rica?

Although turtle sightings are more likely from May through November, when the country is in its “green season,” Costa Rican turtles breed on both the Pacific and Caribbean coasts all year long.

What Distinguishes the Cloud Forest From the Rainforest?

The temperature and the altitude are a cloud forest’s primary distinction from a rainforest In contrast to cloud forests, which are hot and humid, rainforests are hot and humid. The kinds of vegetation and wildlife differ noticeably as well.

5. Bottom Line

There are many different species of flora and animals in Costa Rica. This rainforest country on the Caribbean coast is one of the most biologically varied places on earth. It is an ideal experience for all nature lovers.

Every year, tourists across the world travel to Costa Rica to see the stunning Costa Rica animals. Costa Rica has an abundance of Wild animals and exotic plants. The wildlife in Costa Rica is incredible, making a trip there one you won’t soon forget.



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