Friday, April 29, 2011

Erin A is Looking Forward to an Encounter with a Jaguarundi!

The animal I am most looking forward to seeing is the jaguarundi. It looks like a cross between a cat and a weasel. It's only about 30 inches across.
It can typically be found in the lowlands and shrub areas of Mexico all the way down to South America. It is good at catching fish with their front paws. Oh, and when they are born they have spots like some of their big cat relatives, but lose these spots around four months of age.

I don't know why I'm so excited to see them, but they are so gosh darn cute and I love big cats, and it's especially fascinating how this one looks like a cross between a puma and weasel.

Erin, this is a very handsome animal - hope we get to see one!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sam H. Is Excited to Catch a Glimpse of the Blue Morpho Butterfly!

The Blue Morpho butterfly is considered to be one of the largest butterflies with a wingspan from five to eight inches in width. An adult Blue Morpho butterfly uses its long proboscis to suck juice from rotten fruits.( I think that is kinda gross but if they like it, they like it.) The underside of their brillant, iridescence blue wings is a brown shade.

It is determined by some experts that the Blue Morpho may be considered as an endangered species! When they are catepillars, they are a red brown color. Which is cool to think of because when they are in the cacoon, the not only develope wings and a totally different body structure, but they change colors too! Their entire life cycle from birth to death is 115 days! Once dead, their wings are used to make jewlery and as inlay in wood working.

Kenzie W is Excited to See The Olive Ridley Turtle

I think this turtle is adorable and really cute. It is the smallest of the species and weights between 75 and 85 pounds. It has a dark olive green to black color. It is also called “Lora” or “Carpintera”.

It is found most abundantly off the pacific coast of Costa Rica. The nesting takes place along the whole length of the country. Out of 51 beaches 48 are suitable for their nesting to occur. The most important nesting beach is at Ostional.

Dakotah is Most Interested in Seeing a Cacomistle!

The animal that I am looking forward to seeing in Costa Rica is the Cacomistle. It is a mammal that lives in the rain forest and is a relative of the raccoon. It spends most of its life in the treetops and is mostly nocturnal. It is an incredible climber and is very fast. It has not been reported to attack humans.

Dakotah, I think we are seeing several animals that appear related to the racoon family. Looks like we need a night hike to see all the nocturnal animals!

Conner H. is Most Excited to See a Toucan!

I am looking forward to observe the Toucan in the rain forest of Costa Rica. No, I did not pick this animal because it's the face of my favorite cereal (Toucan Sam), but I do really enjoy the colors of the birds.

There are six different species of Toucan in Costa Rica, two of the most common are the keel-billed toucan (tucan pico iris), and the chestnut-mandibled toucan. (Ticos call is dios tedé). Another name for Toucan is the "flying banana"; I suppose they call it this because it's beak is shaped like a banana, and it also has a diet primarily consisting of fruit.

AJ is Most Excited about Seeing a White Nosed Coati!

This animal is an omnivore that has a very big appetite. It will eat lizards, plants, fruits and insects. Coatis usually travel in packs up to twenty four strong! While they travel in packs, they chatter back and forth making them easy to hear from ways away.

They are diurnal spending most of their time in the day foraging for food. They usually live in grasslands and forests where they will sleep in the trees. They are some mistaken for a raccoon because of their ringed tail but coatis hold there tails upright when walking, unlike raccoons.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Courtney B. Is Looking Forward To Seeing Manatees!

I am excited to see all the manatees. They are called sea cows because of their massive size and are vegetarians. They have whiskers and their closest relative is the elephant.

They are endangered now with only about 4,500 left. Humans pose little threat to manatees but the loss of habitat has taken it toll on the species. They are underwater mammals.

Courtney, we should be seeing these in Panama. They are awesome!

Titius M. is Most Interested in Seeing a Poison Dart Frog!

I am most excited to see a poison dart frog. Outside of a zoo I have never seen a frog that has a different color then muddy green.

I think it is extremely interesting that local Costa Ricans use the flesh of poison dart frogs to kill other larger animals while hunting. Their skin is poisonous! Until tonight I never knew an animal could poison you
any way other than injection. Poison Dart frogs live on the rainforrest floor.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Connor D. is Most Excited To See a Fer-de-lance!

I am most excited for the fer-de-lance, which is the most dangerous and common snake (but don't worry, with new advancements in medicine, the fatality rate is less than 1%!). Fer-de-lance is actually the North American name for them. In South America, they refer to them as two different types, Bothrops Apex (which is a bit more down Southwards) and the Bothrops asper which we'll encounter.

I have these really irrational fears, but I'll like to be scared. For example, I'm scared of heights but I love to ride roller coasters. Snakes scare me, but I've always liked to be near (near as I can be, mind you) to see them interact. Fer-de-lance like to hide under leaves and roots during the day, and they can be spotted with their brown skin and diamond patterns. The males have a yellow tip on their tail, and the young are brighter. The scariest part to me is the fact they are very aggressive and excitable, making them unpredictable. Their venom has a corroding element to it, and if not treated soon, the skin will begin to die around it. Also, the female is the dominant of the species, being larger than the male and weighing more. A part of me hopes we really see them, and the more sensible side of me says I hope we don't get into any trouble! I think they fascinate me the most just because they prove how diverse God's creation is! What a fascinating animal!

Connor, I'd be happy NOT to see this snake unless it is behind glass :)

Ashlea M is Excited to See the Kemp's Ridley Turtle

Ashlea says "I am excited to see Sea Turtles, especially the Kemp's Ridley sea turtle. It is the smallest sea turtle. The adult turtle only reaches up to two feet long and only weighs 100 pounds. The Kemp's Ridley sea tutrltes are so adorable and I would love to be able to hold one someday.

Ashlea, I don't know if we will be able to hold one but if we are in the right place at the right time we may see one laying eggs!

Michaela K.Is Most Excited to Study the Tapir

The animal I am most looking forward to studying in Costa Rica is the tapir. There are four species of tapirs: the Brazilian tapir, the Malayan tapir, the Baird’s tapir, and the Mountain tapir. All four species of tapirs are classified as endangered or vulnerable. The Baird’s tapir is the largest mammal in Costa Rica. The tapir is a strange looking animal with a long flexible snout that is closely related to horses and rhinoceroses. The average tapir is around 7 feet long, 3 feet tall, and weighs from 300 to 700 pounds.

Tapirs have short black hair over thick leathery black skin. The lifespan of a tapir is approximately 25 to 30 years. The tapir diet consists of fruit, berries, and leaves. Tapirs normally live in dry land forests, although when near a water source they will spend a great deal of time in and under water. Tapirs will swim and sink to the bottom of a water source to walk along the riverbed to feed on soft vegetation, take refuge from predators, and cool off during hot days. Tapirs also sit in mud pits to keep cool. Costa Rican tapirs are very timid and wary.

Jamie W. is Most Excited to See a Leatherback Turtle

Jamie says "I'm excited most about a sea turtle-specifically the Leatherback sea turtle. They are supposedly the biggest turtles alive".

You are right Jamie and I'll teach you how to identify turtles by their tracks at our training meeting.

Logan M. is Most Looking Forward to Seeing a Kinkajou!

The animal that I am looking forward to seeing in Costa Rica is the Kinkajou. It is a mammal that lives in the rain forest and is a relative of the raccoon. It spends most of its life in the treetops and is mostly nocturnal. It has a long tail and a face that I think looks like a lemur's. They may appear cute, but some have been known to attack their owners holding on with their claws and tail!

Dr V.: I had the chance to see these on a night hike in Belize! Logan is right, they are only active in the dark.

Chris S. Is Most Excited about Seeing a Sloth!

I have always wanted to see a sloth because I hear they are incredibly lazy because they usually spend 18 hrs a day sleeping(Would be fun for a day!)and in Costa Rica, a 3 fingered sloth exists (type of sloth)! At maximum speed a sloth can travel 1 mile in 4 hours!!!!!!!! He can practically fly by you. I cannot wait to see these fun animals XD.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Haylee Smith Is Most Excited to See a Margay!

This cute little cat. I find it cool (and cute) because it supposedly can race up and down trees like squirrels.

I agree with Haylee - this cat is one you would like take home with you but in spite of it's size and cuteness it can be vicious. It is closely related to the Ocelot.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Which animals are you most looking forward to studying in Costa Rica?

In total, Costa Rica harbours 210 species of mammals, around 878 species of birds, 218 of reptiles, and over 35,000 species of insects. For your first assignment on the blog I'd like you to respond to my message by telling us a little about the indigenous animal that excites you most. There are several web sites that can give you a list of the special animals of Costa Rica.

My favorite is the Howler Monkey. I saw (and heard) these incredible primates last summer in Belize and they are amazing. I couldn't believe that such a loud noise was coming from such a small animal. Howler monkeys rarely travel on the ground, instead they per fer the canopy of trees for protection and transportation. One note of caution about these animals - stand too close to their tree and you get rained on - in a very bad way.

Source; Costa Rica Nature and Wildlife