Costa Rica Wildlife

Check out some of the exotic creatures you might encounter in the wilds of Costa Rica.

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Baby Spider Monkey

A baby spider monkey takes in some tender loving care at an animal rescue center in Costa Rica. The species is endangered due to deforestation. Spider monkeys require a large habitat: they can roam up to 2,000 meters in a single day.

Spider Monkeys

Did you know that a spider monkey female carries baby on her back? Babies are carried on their mothers' chests until they reach 2 months, at which point they switch to their mothers' backs.

Leatherback Sea Turtle

A leatherback sea turtle hatchling emerges from its nest in the sand. Leatherbacks cannot expect restful lives: according to the Journal of Experimental Biology, they spend less than 0.1% of their day at rest.

Scarlet Macaw

A Scarlet Macaw looks at the camera from a tree. In captivity macaws can have lifespans of up to 50 years.


A margay lies in the grass. Margays are one of the most adept at tree climbing of the feline species, and can even descend down tree trunks head first.

Collared Anteater

A collared anteater, also called a tamandua, searches for food. In captivity, these animals have a more expansive diet than their name suggests: they will also eat fruits and meat.

Reticulated Python

A reticulated python relaxes in a tree in Manuel Antonio National Park. Reticulated Pythons can range from 4 to 21 feet in length.

Howler Monkey

A howler monkey relaxes in Tamarindo, Costa Rica. Their calls, usually a sign of marking territory, can be heard up to 3 miles away.

Baby Howler Monkey

A howler monkey baby sits in a tree with his mother. Howler monkeys are polygamous, with an average ratio of 4 females to every male in a social group.

Green Lizard

A green lizard is camouflaged in the leaves of a tree branch. Costa Rica has a huge amount of biodiversity and is home to more than 200 species of reptiles.


Young sloths hang out on a bamboo tree. Although slow movers, sloths are not as lazy as once thought: they sleep a little less than 10 hours per day.

Red-Eyed Tree Frog

A colorful red-eyed tree frog perches on a vine. In order to avoid predators, these frogs cover up their blue-colored sides with their legs to blend in with their lush, green surroundings.

White-Headed Capuchin Monkey

A white-headed Capuchin monkey scopes out his environment. Capuchins are highly intelligent and are known to use tools to crack nuts and forage for food.


Coatis, also known by their adorable name, snookum bears, are actually part of the raccoon family. Although they have become popular pets in Central and South America, they are notoriously difficult to train.

American Crocodile

An American crocodile bares its teeth in the Tarcoles River, Costa Rica. If you encounter one, be sure to escape by land: this species can swim at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour.

Spiny-Tailed Iguana

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the black spiny-tailed iguana is the world's fastest lizard, reaching speeds of up to 21.7 miles per hour.

Green Iguana

Despite their frightening appearance, green iguanas are herbivores and flee when encountered with danger. They may have reason to run: In some places in Central America, green iguanas are a source of food.


Butterflies have only a 2% chance of surviving to adulthood in the wild. In Costa Rica there are many preserves and butterfly farms to preserve species' biodiversity.

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