Can We Please Talk About Something Besides Monkeys?

I’m so tired of monkeys. I see them all the time. Not just in the forest, I mean–everywhere. When I sleep. When I close my eyes. In my mind. Constantly. Everything is monkeys now. I’m a monkey. You’re a monkey. We are all monkey and monkey is all. In the beginning was monkeys and monkeys it shall forever be.

Are you a monkey? If you are, you have to tell me. That’s monkey law.

So I’m going to try to focus on all the other critters running around this forest. Granted, I haven’t seen as many as I’d expect after all the time I spend out there, but there’s several reasons for that. Dry forest, while still tropical, doesn’t have nearly the same level of abundance and diversity as the other areas of Costa Rica. Second, this area has seen a lot of human impact over the years, from habitat fragmentation to fires to overhunting. What animals remain tend to be a bit skittish and wary. But mostly, the issue is this: crashing through the brush and hollering at the top of your lungs about what the monkeys are doing is a bad way to sneak up on wildlife. My guess is, there’s plenty out there, but they know when we’re coming.

But there have still been good days. We see and hear plenty of birds in the open fields and rivers, but early on I spotted what looked like a heron that had flown face-first into a brick wall and doubled its bill over like Daffy Duck. I admit–I had no idea what it was and had to look up the ID. Turns out, it was a boat-billed heron, and the oddly stout bill is natural, not comically accidental.

However, when startled it did jump away on its head shouting “Woohoo! Woohoo!”

I’d like to give a shout-out to the myriad bugs of the forest that aren’t drinking my blood, spraying me with acid, or injecting venom into my skin. But I’d especially like to mention the spiders, the harmless crawlers whose webs I destroy by the hundreds each day by walking through them. Seriously, these guys are great–they eat pests and I render them homeless on a regular basis. Plus, some of them have some neat coloration.

I often notice this as I’m picking them off my face.

As for mammals, we get the usual–agoutis, coatis, and the occasional deer, all of which tend to book it when capuchins are around. Go figure. There’s also plenty of howler monkeys sharing the trees, but they usually ignore us and their simian cousins alike. However, yesterday was a rare treat when we stumbled along a family of armadillos foraging at the edge of a field.

These things are just so darn cute.

However, I must complain about the noticeable lack of snakes, especially since I was forewarned about how common they would be in the dry forest. Besides that one rattlesnake a few weeks back, the only other I’ve seen is the back-half of dead speckled racer that some bird left in a tree. The monkeys screamed at it for a while before nearly dropping it on my head.

Not sure if this counts.

I’ve got another 11 months to go. I’m bound to fine something else by then.



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