General info


Costa Rica is inhabited by 200 species of mammals and almost half of them are bats.

Central american aguti

[Dasyprocta punctata]. The coat ranges from pale orange to several shades of brown or blackish dorsally, and yellowish to white ventrally. The rump is a contrasting color. In some individuals inconspicuous stripes may be present. The fur of the agouti is course yet glossy. The hairs increase in length from the anterior to the posterior part of the body. The body length ranges from 415-620 mm and the tail is 10-35 mm. The weight ranges from 1.3-4.0 kg. The body is slender. They have short ears, and the hind foot has three toes with hoof-like claws. They are monogamous. During courtship, the male sprays the female with urine, which causes her to go into a "frenzy dance." They are closely associated with water and often found along the banks of streams, rivers and lakes. They often build dens and numerous sleeping spots in hollow logs, among limestone boulders, under roots of trees or other vegetation. They are found in forests, thick brush, savannas, and cultivated areas.

Hispid cotton rat

[Sigmodon hispidus]. It has a mixture of tan, brown, and black hairs. The underparts are whitish or grayish. The feet are gray to dark brown. The eyes are large, but the small ears are partially concealed in the fur. The tail is sparsely haired and is shorter than the combined length of the head and body. Preferred habitat consists of grassy fields, brushy pastures, ditches, marshes, and along the brushy borders of cultivated fields.


bottlenosed dolphin - [Tursiops truncatus]. are recognized by their medium-sized, robust body, moderately curved dorsal fin, and dark coloration, with a sharp demarcation between the melon and the short rostrum. Adult lengths range from 2 - 3.8 m, weights from 220-500 kg (mean of 242 kg), varying geographically. Occasionally they may travel far up into rivers.

delfin pospolity - [Delphinus delphis). They are slender and have a long beak sharply demarcated from the melon. The dorsal fin is high and moderately curved backwards. They are distinguished from other species by a unique crisscross colour pattern formed by interaction of the dorsal overlay and cape. This yields a four-part pattern of dark grey to black dorsally, buff to pale yellow anterior thoracic patch, light to medium grey on the flank and a white abdominal field. Their prey consists largely of small schooling fish (e.g. sardines) and squid.

risso`s dolphin - [Grampus griseus]. It has a large blunt head and no beak. They vary in colour from blue-grey, grey-brown or almost-white, depending on age and injuries. The mouth slants upwards and there are seven or fewer pairs of teeth at the front of the lower jaw. The dorsal fin is tall and curved, with a distinct point at the tip, rather like the flippers. The tail stock is thick and ends in powerful flukes. Risso's Dolphins measure between 2.8-3.85m in length, and they can weigh as much as 500kg.

tucuxi dolphin - [Sotalia fluviatilis]. It is light grey to blueish-grey, on the back and pinkish to light grey on the belly, with a distinct boundary between the mouth gape and the flipper's leading edge. On the sides, there is a lighter area between the flippers and the dorsal fin. The dordsal fin is triangular and may be slightly hooked at the tip. The beak is moderately slender and long. Body size reaches 210 - 220 cm. It eats a variety of fish species, free-swimming octopi and squid. It shows a preference for shallow protected estuarine waters or bays.

clymene dolphin - [Stenella clymene]. It is small but rather stocky and has a moderately long beak. The dorsal fin is tall and nearly triangular to slightly falcate. The coloration is tripartite: the belly is white, the flanks are light grey and the cape is dark grey. There is a dark grey line running down the length of the top of the beak, but the most distinctive feature is a black "moustache" marking of variable extent at the top of the beak. Body size reaches between 170 - 190 cm in females and 176 - 197 cm in males and maximum body mass recorded was 80 kg.

Plains pocket gopher

[Geomys bursarius]. is found in open to sparsely wooded areas. It prefers deep, sandy, crumbly soils, and its distribution tends to be limited by soil type. has short fur, which can vary from a pale brown to black, and is usually paler on the underside. The skull is heavily reinforced, and it has strong jaw muscles. The tail is long, with little hair. Foreclaws are large and grow rapidly. The body is 187-357 cm long, and the tail is 51-107 cm long. They are solitary and territorial. Males leave their burrows in early spring to mate, but then return to their territory. It is herbivorous and feeds mainly on underground roots or tubers.


[Grison vittatus]. Large weasel with distinctive coloration. The body, tail and crown of the head are light gray and the legs, chest and loverface are black. A white band across the forehead, ears and sides of the neck gives the head a black/white/gray tricolor. It is found in the lowlands rainforests.


[Eira barbara]. It is a weasel about the size of a medium sized dog, with a long, bushy tail and long neck ending in a robust head. Its head and body range from 600 to 700 mm in length and its tail length is 350 to 450 mm. Tayras have large hind feet varying in length from 80 to 90 mm and ears about 35 to 40 mm long. Color varies with geographic range, but in general the tayra has a dark brown body with a slightly paler head. Usually it has a white, diamond shaped patch on its throat. Tayras have long claws and pronounced canines. It is a diurnal species that usually travels alone or in pairs. Sometimes, however, they are seen in small groups of 3-4 individuals, the sexual distribution of which is unknown. Tayras are both terrestrial and arboreal. When alarmed, the tayra gives a short, barking call and seeks protection in the nearest tree. Its diet consists of rodents, also rabbits, birds, small deer, honey and fruit. They are found in tropical deciduous and evergreen forests, secondary growth, and plantations.


[Panthera onca]. It reaches a length of 1.2 meters and a height of 0.8 to 1 meter. Their tale is anywhere from 18-30 inches. They are tan with black rings and dots. It is also common for them to be completely black. They have stocky appearance and sturdy legs. They feed primarily on medium to large sized prey such as deer, peccaries, agoutis, and pacas. Water loving jaguars, found deep in the Amazonian region, commonly eat fish, frogs, turtles, and small alligators. It is a solitary animal. Male and female interaction only occurs during mating and the male leaves directly afterwards, leaving the female to raise her young alone. They live in a variety of habitats, from dense jungle and scrubland to reed thickets and shoreline forests. They sometimes will also live in open country , as long as the grass and rocks offer enough cover for hunting, and a reliable source of water is available. Their biggest population lives in Chirripo National Park. They are spot also in national parks of Santa Rosa, Rincon de la Vieja, Tortuguero, Corcovado, Golfito Wildlife Refuge and lower parts of Cordillera Talamanca.


[Felis yagouaroundi]. Small, slender-bodied, long-tailed, unspotted, weasel-like cat; size somewhat larger than the ordinary alley cat; legs short for a cat; two color phases. Grayish phase: upperparts grizzled, salt-and-pepper gray; underparts slightly paler; more black in winter pelage. Red phase: upperparts reddish, intermixed with blackish; head and legs more brownish; lips and throat usually whitish. Total length, 1,070 mm; tail, 572 mm; hind foot, 137 mm; females usually smaller. Their food consists of rats, mice, birds, and rabbits. It is spot in Wildlife Refuges of Golfito, Barra del Colorado, Lomas de Barbudal and National Parks of Tapanti, Irazu and Corcovado.


red brocket deer - [Mazama americana]. Small deer (shoulder height 670-760mm) with chestnut-red body and legs, lighter chestnut belly, and grey head and neck. Males have short, unbranched antlers that are directed backwards. Measurements: Total: 1040-1340mm; Tail: 95-145mm; Hind Foot: 580-800mm; Ear: 86-105mm. They live in dense, moist forest and are found in mature and secondary rainforest, forest edges, gardens, and plantations. Their small size allows them to slip through dense vegetation, and they will readily swim to escape danger. They are both diurnal and nocturnal. They are selective browsers and prefer to feed on fruit. They are spot in rain forests, for example Penas Blancas Reserve.

#00ccff-tailed deer - [Odocoileus virginianus]. Head and body length is 150 to 200 cm, tail length is 10 to 28 cm, and height at the shoulders is between 80 and 100 cm. Its dorsal coloration differs in shading locally, seasonally, and among subspecies; however in general it is grayer in the winter and redder in the summer. White fur is located in a band behind the nose, in circles around the eyes, inside the ears, over the chin and throat, on the upper insides of the legs and beneath the tail. They are the most nervous and shy of deer. They wave their tails characteristically from side to side when they are startled and fleeing. They are spot in entire Costa Rica especially in Guanacaste province (National Parks of Barra Honda, Palo Verde, and Curu Wildlife Refuge).

Prehensile-tailed porcupine

[Coendou prehensilis]. Body length is between 300-600 mm. Dorsal side is covered with short spines. Coloration of dorsal side varies from yellow to black, venter is usually gray. No spines are found on the tail, which is long (330-485 mm) and prehensile. Feet are reflective of their arboreal lifestyle, with long-clawed digits. They live in forests between 150-2500 meters in elevation. They are nocturnal and arboreal. During the day, individuals rest in trees at a height of 6-10 meters.


[Potos flavus]. Kinkajous have prehensile not ringed tails and use them often as they move through the canopy at night. It lacks facial markings and is reddish-brown color. They strictly noctournal and solitary. Jumps from tree to tree searching for fruits especially figs which comprise most of its diet. They are spot in Ostional and Penas Blancas Wildlife Refuges as well as Rincon de la Vieja National Park.


south american coati - [Nasua nasua]. Their parts are dark brown, gray, or dark or brightly rust colored. The underparts are white. The head is narrow with the nose slightly turned upward and elongated, and is very flexible, allowing coaties to search out food under leaf litter and overturned debris. The muzzle is brown with pale spots above, below, and behind the eye. The ears are small and fringed with white on the inside rims. The long tails of coatis are used for balance, and are black to brown with yellow rings. They have thick, dull fur. They are spot in Tapanti, Palo Verde, Rincon de la Vieja National Parks and Lomas de Barbudal, Curu and Ostional Wildlife Refuges.

#00ccff-nosed coati - [Nasua narica]. The body length is 80-130 cm, over half of that being the tail. Their coat is a grayish brown with "silver grizzling" on the sides of the arms. The snout is long and pointed with a flexible end. The face has a white band near the end of the nose. There is a white spot above and below each eye as well as on each cheek. Touches of white are also present on the underside of the throat and belly. The coati is plantigrade with shorter forelegs than hindlegs. The feet are black and have naked soles. The forefeet also have bent claws. The tapering tail of extreme length is covered with black rings and held erect while walking. They are primarily diurnal. Days are spent mostly on the ground foraging, while nights are spent in treetops, sheltered from most predation.


[Canis latrans]. Their coloration varies from grayish brown to a yellowish gray on the upper parts. The throat and belly are whitish. The forelegs, sides of head, muzzle and feet are reddish brown. The back has fulvous colored underfur and long, black-tipped guard hairs that produce a black dorsal stripe and a dark cross on the shoulder area. The tail, which is half the body length, is bottle shaped with a black tip. The eyes have a yellow iris and round pupil. The nose is black and usually less than one inch in diameter. The ears are large in relation to the head and the muzzle is long and slender. The feet are relatively small for the size of the body. The pes has four digits and the manus has five with a small first digit. Coyotes are versatile in their eating habits and eat just about anything. They are spot in province of Guanacaste and are spot in Wildlife Refuges of Curu, Lomas de Barbudal and national parks of Barra Honda, Irazu and Poas.


[Bassariscus astutus]. Head and body length is 305 to 420 mm and tail length is 310 to 441 mm. Shoulder height is about 160 mm. The upper body is buffy in color with a dark brown wash, and the underparts are a pale buff. The eyes are ringed by black or dark brown and set within buffy patches. They can be found at elevations of up to 2900 m but are most common at elevations ranging from sea level to 1400 m. It occurs mostly at night and occasionally at dusk. Much of its time is spent foraging for food.

West Indian manatee

[Trichechus manatus], (sea cow). They are grey or brown. The average body length of an adult West Indians manatee is approximately 3 meters but some individuals can reach a length of 4.5 meters including the tail. The average weight of these manatees ranges between 200 and 600 kg, however the largest individuals can weigh up to 1,500 kg. Manatees use their tail to propel themselves forward and are surprisingly agile in the water. They are capable of complex maneuvering including somersaults, rolls, and swimming upside-down. They are active day and night, resting for several hours at a time near the surface of the water or at the bottom. It is commonly found in shallow coastal areas, but can also be found in shallow rivers, estuaries, and canals. They are capable of withstanding large changes in salinity and move freely between freshwater and marine habitats. They feed mainly on sea grasses growing on the sea floor and the orientation of the mouth aids in grasping these plants. One of the unique characteristics of manatees is their flexible split upper lip which is used to pass food to the mouth. In Costa Rica they are easily spot in Barra del Colorado Wildlife Refuge.


eastern cottontail - [Sylvilagus floridanus]. They reach a length of 400 to 490 mm. A dense, buffy brown underfur and longer, coarser gray- and black-tipped guard hairs cover the back of the eastern cottontail. Its rump and flanks are gray, and it has a prominent rufus patch on its nape. The ventral surface is white. It prefers edge environments between woody vegetation and open land. They are solitary animals, and they tend to be intolerant of each other.

cottontail rabbit - [Sylvilagus brasiliensis]. It got its name from its short, fluffy tail, which is white like all the rabbits underparts. The rest of the rabbit`s soft, silky fur is pale, buff-gray with black tips above and cinnamon red on the neck area and legs. They are perfectly adapted for ripping and gnawing vegetation, with sharp, constantly growing incisor teeth that enable them to chew away the inner and outer bark from trees.

dice`s cottontail - [Sylvilagus dicei]. It is spot in Cordillera Talamanca. It is registered on the Costa Rica endangered species list.


Often hang motionless from branches or slowly progress upside down along a branch toward leaves, which are their primary food. It defecate about only a week. They are infrequently sighted on the ground where their gait is clearly uncomfortable. They are sexually mature at 3 years. The baby is carried on the mother`s chest for 5,5 months feeding on milk for few weeks. A baby that falls off its mother is ignored. In Costa Rica there are two species of sloths.

brown-throated three-toed sloth - [Bradypus variegatus]. Diurnal, They are 50-75 cm in length and have stumpy tails. They are grayish brown with a distinctive gray-and-white mask on the face.

hoffman`s two-toed sloth [Choloepus hoffmanni]. Nocturnal. They are spot in Rincon de la Vieja National Park and Carara Biological Reserve.


grey fox - [Urocyon cinereoargenteus]. They are distinguished by their grizzled upperparts, buff neck and black-tipped tail. Total Length: 800-1125 mm; Tail: 275-443 mm; Hindfoot: 100-150 mm. They have strong, hooked claws that allow them to scramble up trees to avoid predators or to get fruit. They descend primarily by jumping from branch to branch. They are found in deciduous woodlands, but are occasionally seen in old fields foraging for fruits and insects.


long-tailed weasel - [Mustela frenata]. They have long, bushy tails that are about 50% of their total body length. Body length varies between 330 and 420 mm in males and 280 to 350 mm in females, tail length is from 132 to 294 mm in males, and 112 to 245 mm in females. They have a small, narrow head with long whiskers. They also have short legs. The fur is composed of short, soft underfur covered by shiny guard hair. They are cinnamon brown in color with white under parts that have a yellow tinge. Twice a year they shed their fur, once in the spring and again in the fall. They are quick, agile, and alert animals. They are good climbers and swimmers.

White-faced capuchin

[Cebus capucinus]. They are 13-20 inches in length and their tail is 14-20 inches long. They have a tuft of hair on their head that is similar to the cowl or capuche worn by Franciscan monks, which is how they got their name. They also have white hair on their throat. They have a prehensile tail that can grasp but not as well as a fifth hand; it usually serves simply as a prop or anchor while they travel through the trees. They have a well defined opposable thumb and are quadrupedal. They live in troops ranging from six to twenty members. They are highly territorial and mark their trails by urinating on their hands and then rubbing their feet and fur. They use sticks for defense. They primarily eat fruits and insects, but also small vertebrates and birds. Some of their foods are nuts, berries, seeds , flowers, buds, shoots, bark, gums, arachinids, eggs, and even oysters and crabs . They find food on the ground but mostly in the trees, usually only descending to the ground for water. They search under logs and leaves or tear off bark in order to find insects and small lizards. They are choosy eaters, picking out grubs from fruit and testing for ripeness by smelling and squeezing. They are easily spot in Santa Rosa and Manuel Antonio National Parks.

Central American squirrel monkey

[Saimiri oerstedii]. It`s a small, slender monkey with a long prehensile tail. Much of their body fur is yellow brown in color with a pale yellow belly. It has golden-red colored fur on its back. They are typically 225-295 mm long with tails adding between 370-465 mm. They are social species and travel in small troops. They begin foraging shortly before sunrise and continue until an hour or hour and a half after sunset, stopping only for brief rests or rainstorms. Their diet consists mostly of invertebrates, small vertebrates, fruit, and flower nectar.

Spider monkey

[Ateles geoffroyi]. Head and body length ranges from 305 to 630mm, and tail length from 635 to 840mm. It has extremely long limbs and tail. The head is small and the muzzle substantial. The upper fur is black, brown, or reddish and the face is often marked with a pale mask of unpigmented skin around the eyes and muzzle. The arms and feet are dark and the underparts paler (white, pale brown, reddish, or buff). Female spider monkeys have an enlarged clitoris that resembles the penis of males. They are social and tend to form groups of approximately thirty individuals. They live mainly in the top of the tree canopy where they forage diurnally. They are among the most agile of the primates and are often seen hanging by one limb or by the tail, which essentially functions as a fifth limb. They walk nimbly along the upper surfaces of branches and are able to pick things up with their tails. They are spot in Cabo Blanco Wildlife Refuge and Rincon de la Viekja National Park.

Mantled howler monkey

[Alouatta palliata]. They are large and stocky with black fur, and most individuals have long, yellow or brown fur saddles. Long guard hairs are present on their flanks, earning the common name "mantled" howler monkey. The face is naked, black and bearded, and the prehensile tail has a naked pad on the underside near its base. Males have a prominent white scrotum, weigh 6 to 7 kg, and usually have a longer beard than female individuals. Adult females typically weigh 4 to 5 kg, and newborn infants weigh 0.4 kg and appear silver to golden brown. Adult tail size ranges from 520 to 670 mm, and body length ranges from 380 to 580 mm. They feed on leaves, fruit, and flowers. According to a legend Cristopher Columb named after them a point in Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge (Punta Mona).


[Felis wiedii]. A small, spotted cat. Its skull seldom exceeding 110 mm in greatest length. External measurements: total length, 862 mm; tail, 331 mm; hind foot, 112 mm. Weight, 2-3 kg. It is expert at climbing trees, in which it is likely to be found resting during the day. The margay spends some of its time foraging in trees catching birds and small mammals, but also captures prey on the ground. Their biggest population live in Hitoy-Cerere Wildlife Refuge. Besides it is spot in Golfito Wildlife Refuge.


In Costa Rica there are three species of anteaters:

southern tamandua - [Tamandua tetradactyla]. Head and body length ranges from 535 to 880mm and tail length from 400 to 590mm. They have black markings from shoulder to rump. The black patch widens near the shoulders and encircles the forelimbs. The rest of the body can be blonde, tan, or brown. Tamanduas have four clawed digits on the forefeet and five on the hindfeet. To avoid puncturing their palms with their sharp claws, they walk on the outsides of their hands. The underside and the end of the prehensile tail are hairless. The snout is long and decurved with an opening only as wide as the diameter of a pencil, from which the tongue is protruded.

giant anteater - [Myrmecophaga tridactyla]. Head and body length 1,000 to 2,000mm. Tail is 650-900mm long. They have narrow bodies, grey in color with a black stripe bordered with white. Their fur is coarse, stiff, and is longest on the bushy tail. The head has reduced ears and eyes and a long cylindrical snout with a tongue that can extend as far as 610mm! There are powerful claws on the hands. They generally run away when threatened and are slow to fight.They live in the forests of Osa peninsula.

silky anteater - [Cyclopes didactylus]. They inhabits the tree Ceiba, which has large seed pods that contain masses of a silky silverish fiber. This serves as an excellent camouflage for this tiny anteater, because the sheen of the pods and the silky fur of the anteater are almost identical. They are arboreal and very rarely descends to the ground. They feed mostly on arboreal ants and termites They are spot in Corcovado National Park.

northern tamandua - [Tamandua mexicana]. Head and body length ranges from 470 to 770mm and tail length from 402 to 672mm. They are fawn to brownish colored and have a distinct, black "V" going down their backs. One of their names, vested anteaters, is derived from this "V" as it makes the anteater appear to be wearing a vest. short, coarse, dense, and very bristly. The mouth opening is only about the diameter of a pencil, but the tongue can extend 40 cm. The tail is naked and prehensile, with irregular, black markings. On each hand there are four clawed digits. These claws range from 4 to 10 cm in length and are used for defense and slashing open termite and ant nests. The claw on the third digit is the longest, and the claw on the first digit is the smallest. The feet each have five clawed digits. The ears are large and protruding, but the eyes are very small. They forage both on the ground and in the canopy of the forest. They live in Punta Leona point in Costa Rica.



jamaican fruit-eating bat - [Artibeus jamajcensis] - It is characterized by four white facial stripes, pointed ears, and soft, short fur of a dull brownish, grayish, or black silver-tinged color, and paler underparts. This bat has no external tail and a narrow interfemoral membrane. It has a harem-like social structure in which groups of adult females are never found roosting with more than one adult male. It is primarily frugivorous but also feeds on nectar, pollen, flower parts, and insects. The fruits eaten by this bat include figs, mangos, avocados, bananas, espave nuts, and the pulp around the seeds of palms.

common vampite bat - [Desmodus rotundus]. These bats have no tail, their upper parts are dark grayish-brown with a paler underside. They have pointed ears, larger thumb and 20 teeth. They have a wingspan of about eight inches and a body about the size of an adult's thumb. Vampire bats feed on the blood of large birds, cattle, horses, and pigs. Razor-sharp incisors make a small cut on the prey and the flowing blood is licked up, not sucked. Anticoagulants in the bats saliva ensure the blood flows freely during the meal. They are spot in Santa Rosa National Park. On May 2005 in the vicinity of Parrita officials ordered the vampire hunt due to the fact they spread rabies in animals.

spectral bat - [Vampyrum spectrum]. They are found in both open areas and secondary growth as well as deep forest. Largest bat in the New World, with a wingspan between 0.7-1 m. Roost in small tight groups in hollow trees. Groups seem to consist of a monogomous pair and 1-3 of their non-breeding young.

greater bulldog bat - [Noctilio leporinus] - It has 60 cm wingspan. Most of this is skin and bones, so adults weigh under 90 g. They have sharply clawed enlarged feet. It catches and consumes fish. It is one of about six bat species that regularly eat fish. It will also eat aquatic crustaceans, stinkbugs, crickets, scarab beetles, moths, winged ants, and other insects. They roost near streams, coastal marine habitats, major river basins, or other moist places. They are spot in Tortuguero National Park.

Honduran white bat - [Ectophylla alba]. It is a very small species of bat. The total body length ranges from 37-47mm. They have no external tail. They have a lustrous white coat covering most of their bodies. Sections of this coat are tinged with gray. They also have bright orange/yellow features (ears, face, nose, and sections of their legs and wings) and black wing membranes. The nose of this species is very pronouced and triangular. Found mainly in rainforests that have a population of Heliconia plant species. They cut the veins of large plant leaves, usually Heliconia sp., and form them into an upside-down V shape. They then diurnally roost under the leaves. This "tent" is made about 6 feet in the air horizontal to the ground. They live on the caribbean side of Costa Rica.

ghost bat - [Diclidurus virgo]. Osiąga długość od 6 do 7 centymetrów. Wyróżnia się dużymi oczami, krótkimi, zaokrąglonymi uszami. Podobno zdarza mu się latać w pełnym świetle słońca. Występują na półwyspie Osa.

northern ghost bat - [Diclidurus albus]. Ma duże oczy, krótkie i zaokrąglone uszy. Wyróżnia się długim białym futrem i białawymi błonami lotnymi. Żyje samotnie, w dzień ukrywa się wśród liści palm.

greater sac-winged bat - [Saccopteryx bilineata]. Small bat that roosts in colonies of 5 to 50 individuals and have dark fur with two long wavy white lines on the back. It is spot in Santa Rosa National Park.


[Felis pardalis]. A medium-sized (a little over a meter in length), spotted and blotched cat with a moderately long tail (the tail is shorter than the hind legs). Ocelots feed on a variety of small mammals and birds, as well as some reptiles, amphibians. They are spot on entire Costa Rican territory.

Bushy-tailed olingo

[Bassaricyon gabbi]. It has prolongate body with small flattened head with short, sharp pointed ears. It is gray and has bushy, faintly ringed tail. It jumps around the trees at night. Has sneezing calls and two-toned yelp. Often travel together with kinkajous. It prefers primary humid forests. It feeds on fruits. It covers the hollows in trees by dry leaves.


(workowate szczury, Didelphidae). Their newborn which looks like tiny embryos crawl from the birth canal through the mother`s fur into a pouch containing the teats. Nine species of opossums are found in Costa Rica.

southern opossum - [Didelphis marsupialis]. there are varying degrees of black in the dorsal pelage, while the ventral side is white. The length of the head and body ranges from 263mm to 430 mm, with a tail length ranging from 295mm to 450 mm. It is solitary except during the breeding season. These opossums navigate mainly by olfaction and touch. They climb well but frequently forage on the ground, and seek refuge in hollow trees, a den under roots, or holes in the ground. They do not actively defend a specific area or territory. They typically avoid one another, and if males come into contact, they become aggressive. Threatening behavior begins with the mouth opening, and is followed by hissing, growling, and finally snapping.

water opossum - [Chironectes minimus], (Yapok). The short, dense fur is marbled grey and black. The muzzle, eyestripe, and crown are black, and a light band runs across the forehead anterior to the ears. The tail, furred and black at the base, is yellow or white at its end. The ears are naked and rounded. There are sensory facial bristles in tufts above each eye as well as whiskers. The pisiform bone is enlarged on the wrists of the forefeet and resembels a sixth finger. Head and body length ranges from 270 to 400mm and tail length from 310 to 430mm. Its hindfeet are webbed and are used for propulsion through water. The elongated hallux makes the hindfoot symmetrical, which distributes force equally along both borders of the webbing. Individuals of this species are solitary and antisocial. They are sporadically active at night, showing no apparent circadian rhythm.

gray four-eyed opossum -[Philander opossum]. The name is derived from this opossum's grey coat and the single white spots which are located directly above each eye, providing it with an appearance of four eyes. The body length is 250-350 mm, and the tail reaches to about the same length. Males may be slightly larger than females, although much overlap in size is present. Females have five to nine mammae contained within a pouch. The coloration of the short, straight hair is gray dorsally and off-white to yellow ventrally. The tail is furred with the same gray coloration for 50-60 mm from the base. The tip of the tail is naked and becomes paler in color towards its end. Nests may be located on the ground or in burrows, but the majority of nests are built in the lower branches of trees, 8 to 10 meters from the ground. It`s spot on Cano island.


[Agouti paca]. Its fur is coarse and there is no underfur. The upper body is dark brown or black and usually has 4 longitudinal rows of white spots on the sides. The belly is white. The forefeet have 4 digits and the hind feet 5 digits. The zygomatic arch is expanded laterally and dorsally and is used as a resonating chamber. They are solitary and little interaction occurs between individuals. They are spot in Curu and Penas Blancas Wildlife Refuges.


Nine-banded armadillo - [Dasypus novemcimtum]. Upperparts encased in a bony carapace with large shields on shoulders and rump and nine bands in between; front feet with four toes, middle two longest; hind foot five-toed, the middle three longest, all provided with large, strong claws; tail long, tapering and completely covered by bony rings; color brownish, the scattered hairs yellowish white. Total length, 760 mm; tail, 345 mm; hind foot, 85 mm. Weight of adult males, 5-8 kg; females, 4-6 kg. They are generally nocturnal (active at night). Although they are warm-blooded, they are not very efficient at holding their body temperature steady. On very hot days, they avoid the heat and only forage at dawn and dusk. It is spot in Cabo Blanco Wildlife Refuge.

northern naked-tailed armadillo - [Cabassous centralis]. It ranges from 30 cm to 71 cm. The tail varies from 10 cm to 18 cm. It got its name because its tail lacks the protective, keratinous plates found on its body. They are also called eleven-banded armadillos for the number of bands that make up their "armor." Some hair can be found in the spaces between the bands, on the limbs, and on the ventral surface of the body. Large claws adapted for digging are found on both the forefeet and hindfeet. The middle claw is especially large and sickle-shaped. Coloration is dark brown to almost black with yellow lateral areas and a yellow-gray underside. The head is broad with a short, wide snout and well-separated ears. This species walks on the tips of its claws on its forefeet and on the soles of the hindfeet. It is capable running rapidly for short distances to escape danger. They are nocturnal and begin their activity after sunset.


collared peccary - [Tayassu tayacu]. It is characterized by presence of four-hoofed toes on the front feet, but only three on the hind feet (outer dewclaw absent); short, piglike snout; crushing molars; nearly straight and daggerlike canines (tusks); harsh pelage with distinct "mane" from crown to rump; distinct musk gland on rump; two pairs of mammae, inguinal in position; distinct whitish collar across shoulder in adults, rest of upperparts grizzled black and grayish, with dark dorsal stripe; young reddish to yellowish brown, with black stripe down back. It is spot in Tapanti and Palo Verde National Park and Lomas de Barbudal and Penas Blancas Wildlife Refuges.

white-lipped peccary - [Tayassu albirostris]. Black or brown with white patches marked from dewlap to their eyes. The lower part of head is destinguished also by larger white spot. They can reach 1 meter in length. They are endangered specie. Sometimes are spot in Corcovado National Park.


[Felis concolor], (mountain lion). A large, long-tailed, unspotted cat; body long and lithe; tail more than half the length of head and body, rounded in cross section, and black-tipped; claws long, sharp, and curved; soles haired, but pads naked; ears small, rounded, without tufts; upperparts and sides dull tawny, darkest on middle of back and tail; face from nose to eyes grayish brown; a pale patch above each eye; back of ear blackish; chin, lips, throat, and underparts whitish; underside of tail grayish white. They are spot in Barra del Colorado Wildlife Refuge, Chirripo National Park and slopes of Tenorio volcano.


striped hog-nosed skunk - [Conepatus semistriatus], (amazonian skunk). It is destinguished by bare snout resembling hog`s nose. It has bushy, white tail and white stripes on its back. The rest of body black. It can reach 50 - 75 cm in length. They are nocturials and solitary animals. They inhabit the rocky terrains and use the burrows dug out by other animals. They feed on insects, fruits and larvas. They are resistant against snakes venoms.

eastern spotted skunk - [Spilogale putorius]. They have large bodies that are low to the ground with a small tapered head. The nose is short and rounded. The head and body length is typically 115-345 mm and the tail length 70-220 mm. Males are slightly larger than females. Females have three pairs of teats for feeding young. The hair is longest on the tail and shortest on the head. It has a well-developed pair of anal glands used in self-defense. They have 34 teeth. There is a small white spot on the forehead and one in front of each ear. It occupies mostly wooded areas and tall-grass prairies and many times prefers rocky habitats.

hooded skunk - [Mephitis macroura]. Males usually weigh 800-900 g, while females weigh 400-700 g. The upper neck has a distinct area of longer hair, leading to the common name "hooded skunk." There are two known color patterns. In the first, the back of the skunk is entirely white in color while its underparts are black, sometimes with white areas. In the second, the back and underparts are black with two narrow lateral white stripes along the side. Frequently the underside of the tail is white. The least spot Costa Rican skunk. Exists low terrains, very scarsely inhabited. Feeds mainly on insects.


northern raccoon - [Procyon lotor]. They have black mask across the eyes and bushy tail with anywhere from four to ten black rings. The forepaws resemble slender human hands and make the raccoon unusually dextrous. Both their forepaws and hindpaws have five toes. Coloration varies with habitat, but tends to range from grey to reddish brown to buff. Their body is stocky and generally weighs from six to seven kilograms; weight varies with habitat and region as well. Males are usually heavier than females, but the difference is often indistiguishable. The body length ranges from 60 to 105cm. They are spot on the river banks on entire Costa Rica`s territory.

crab-eating raccoon - [Procyon cancrivorus]. Nocturnal but limited to the Pacific coast. Has blackish fur on the front of its leg and the fur on top of its neck grows forward, toward the head.


Tapirs are the largest terrestrial mammals in Central America.

baird`s tapir - [Tapirus bairdii]. It has short, sparse black hair over a black skin. The hairs are approximately 1-3cm long. Tapirs are stocky animals with short powerful legs that are well suited for rapid movement through thick underbush. In the forest a tapir can run as fast as a human. The tail is short and seems to have no significant purpose other than providing a cover for the anus. The upper lip in elongated into a proboscis; it is flexible, long, and rather extensible. It serves the purpose of shoveling food into the mouth and gathering leaves from places that the tongue and teeth cannot reach. The head has a flat crown and a poorly developed mane. Tapirs have small eyes flush with the side of the head; the ears are oval, erect, and not very mobile. They live in Cordillera Talamanca and Corcovado National Park.

There is a hipotesis, that on the Cerro Utyum (Cordillera Talamanca, Chirripo National Park) exists tapir anta [Tapirus terrestris], which is not yet oficially registered in Costa Rica.

Little spotted cat

[Felis tigrina], (oncilla). It has light ginger fur with pattern of black spots and stripes. It has black banded tail. It can reach from 85 to 130 cm in length. It can weighs up to 10 kg. It is a nocturnal animal and hunts for rodents and birds. It has been recorded in various habitats up to over 3.000 m. a.s.l.It is spot in National Parks of Tortuguero, Rincon de la Vieja, Santa Rosa, Irazu, Tapanti and Cabo Blanco Wildlife Refuge and Forest Reserve of Rio Macho.


humpback whale - [Megaptera novaenglia]. It can reach up to 18 meter in length and weigh up to 30 ton. The nostrum of the humpback has several barnacle-looking bumps that are thought to be a hair follicle. These barnacles are also believed to aid in sensing movement and navigation. Early whalers and fisherman thought these looked like common stove bolts -- so the name has stuck. The humpback's most distinctive features are its large flippers. They are up to 1/3 the size of the body, usually dark colored on top with a distinctive white underside. A well-defined dorsal fin can be observed on the back. The whale tail is known as a fluke. Humpback approaches its food, it begins to release air through its blowholes. This creates a greenish column that is thought to disorient the fish that becomes trapped within the bubblenet. Finally, the whale swims through the column with an open mouth subsequently surfacing and forcing excess water out through the baleen. Several whales can collaborate on a bubblenet operation. On August 2004 one of them stuck in the outflow of Rio Sierpe.

melon-headed whale - [Peponocephala electra]. It is mostly dark grey, with a faint darker grey cape, which narrows at the head. A faint light band extends from the blowhole to the apex of the melon. A distinct dark eye patch, broadening as it extends from the eye to the melon, is often present. The lips are often white, and white or light grey areas are common in the throat region and the venter. Males grow larger than females (252 and 143 cm, respectively) and may attain up to 228 kg. Most sightings are from the continental shelf seaward, and around oceanic islands.

sperm whale - [Physeter catodon]. Males may reach 19 m while females are only 12 meters. The box-like head contains a spermaceti organ whose function is not entirely known. It may serve to focus and reflect sound or may be a cooling organ to diminish the whale's volume and its buoyancy during prolonged dives. It has the largest of mammalian brains in terms of sheer mass (approximately 9 kg). The blowhole slit is S-shaped and positioned on the left side of the head. There are 18-28 functional teeth on each side of the lower jaws, but the upper teeth are few, weak and nonfunctional. The lower teeth fit into sockets in the upper jaw. The dorsal fin is replaced by a hump and by a series of longitudinal ridges on the posterior part of the back, and the pectoral fins are quite small, approximately 200 cm. long. Tail flukes are 400-450 cm. The blubber layer of the giant sperm whale is quite thick, up to 35 cm. With respect to coloration, males often become paler and sometimes piebald with age. They are very deep divers and may stay submerged from 20 minutes to over an hour.

long-finned pilot whale - [Globicephala melaena]. It can reach up to 5 meter in length and weighs up 3 ton. Mature males have a large hooked dorsal fin, as shown above, with females and calves having shorter pointed dorsal fins with a moderate backward sweep. The head is bulbous and blunt with mature animals having an almost square forehead when viewed from above. The tail is moderate in width with upturned tips and perceived by a muscular, vertically compressed, caudal peduncle. The plain black to dark gray body is usually marked by scraps and cookie cutter shark bites. It feeds on octopuses. It is normally found in groups of either tens or hundreds, and often with other small cetaceans. The Long-Finned Pilot Whale often 'logs', apparently asleep, at the surface, and when they do move they do so slowly. The blow is invisible. They are often spot around Cocos Island.


nutria - [Myocastor coypus]. They inhabit marshes, lake edges, and sluggish streams, especially in areas with emergent or succulent vegetation along the banks. It looks like a large, robust rat. Its body is highly arched, and the head is large and almost triangular. The ears and eyes are small and are located in the upper part of the head. The incisors are broad, with orange-pigmented anterior surfaces. The legs are short. The hind feet are much longer than the forefeet, and contain five digits; the first four are connected by webbing, and the fifth is free. The forefeet have four long, flexible, unwebbed digits and a vestigial thumb. The tail is long and rounded. The pelage consists of two kinds of hair, soft dense underfur, and long coarse guard hairs that vary from yellowish brown to reddish brown. The underfur is dark gray, and it is denser on the abdomen. The chin is covered by white hairs, and the tail is scantily haired. Individuals can remain submerged for more than 10 minutes. They are most active at night.

© 2004; SLUPSK; Rafal Cezary Piechocinski