Flora and Fauna
Costa Rica has a rich and abundant fauna. Due to the number and variety of species, Costa Rica is one of the most admired territories in the world when it comes to biodiversity. You can find hummingbirds, doves, sloths, butterflies all around the country and in some places you may see snakes or giant lizards.
There are more than 35,000 different species of insects in Costa Rica and thousands remain undiscovered! The country claims 10% of the entire world’s butterfly species. You can find rhinoceros beetles, leaf cutter ants, army ants, hercules beetles, scarabs, tarantulas, hummingbird flower mites, stick insects, dragonflies and, of course, mosquitoes.
There are more than 160 different species of amphibians in Costa Rica, including tiny, colourful poison dart frogs, some of which have skin glands containing toxins that can cause paralysis and even death in many animals – including humans! Other amphibians you can find are tink frogs, crocodiles, caimans and golden toads.
There are more than 220 different species of reptiles in Costa Rica and half of them are snakes. You can find bushmasters, coral snakes, fer-de-lance, green iguanas, Jesus Christ lizards, boa constrictors, green spiny lizards and geckos.
There are more than 850 species of birds and Costa Rica offers birders unrivalled birding. Costa Rica has become one of the worlds’ most popular bird watching destinations. Few, if any, birdwatchers leave the country without having exceeded their highest expectations in a tropical country. Birders out in Costa Rica’s forests should look for mixed flocks foraging on certain types of food, especially fruit, in the forest canopy. Also look for ant swarms, where migrating groups of vicious army ants stir up other insects and even small animals as they move along the forest floor. Where there are ant swarms you will find a number of bird species, which feast not only on the army ants but on other insects they stir up. Species most frequently seen with an ant swarm are antbirds, tanagers, manakins and wrens. Other birds to be found are brown pelicans, herons, roseate spoonbill, parrots, hummingbirds, toucans, vultures and the northern jacana.
There are lots of different species of marine animals to be found in Costa Rica’s waters. You can see the giant leatherback turtle, olive ridley turtles, green turtle, hawksbill sea turtle, loggerhead sea turtle, manatees, humpback whales, bottle-nosed dolphins, spotted dolphins, orca, blue and sperm whales and sharks.
There are lots of different species of land animals in Costa Rica, including five different species of sloth, anteaters, armadillo, four monkey species, white-nosed coati, jaguars, the spotted ocelot, large rodents and deer to name but a few.
Costa Rica has an extraordinary abundance of flora, including around 9,000 species of “higher plants”. There are lots of different species of ferns in Costa Rica – around 800. Of heliconias, members of the banana family more familiarly known as “birds of paradise,” there are some 30 species. It is a nation of green. There are around 1,300 different types of orchids.