Dangerous Animals in CR

Feb 7th, 2005, 10:21 AM
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Dangerous Animals in CR

I will be in Arenal, Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio for 11 days in March.

I will be staying at Montana de Fuego in Arnal, Fonda Vela in Monteverde, and La Mariposa in MA.

What dangerous animals should I look out for during this trip and where should I expect to see them? I plan to do many hikes and other outdoor activities while I am there.
dariow is offline  
Feb 7th, 2005, 10:42 AM
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the only places where i saw dangerous animals was when we were exploring through the forests - off the trails. specfically in carrara biological preserve on the pacific. i'm sure there are 'dangerous' animals all over the place but unless you're out looking for them i think you'll be fine. my wife happens to be a nut who likes that kind of thing. p.s. we stayed at the fonda vela - very nice place. get the junior suite!! sounds like your trip is very similar to the one we took. if you'd like to run some specific questions by me just drop me an email at [email protected]. good luck. scott.
ScooterMacG is offline  
Feb 7th, 2005, 10:50 AM
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Army ants, the very large male Iguanas, and gringo tourists.
mikemo is offline  
Feb 7th, 2005, 11:48 AM
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Costa Rica is home to 17 species of poisonous snakes. The one to be most wary of is "terciopelo" or the fer-de-lance. These are fairly aggressive and extremely poisonous. The only other dangerous animals are crocodiles and caimans.

RBCal is offline  
Feb 7th, 2005, 12:01 PM
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Don't forget the giant 2-legged rats who break into your rental car!
dncee11 is offline  
Feb 7th, 2005, 12:39 PM
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As noted above, the fer-de-lance is the most likely poisonous snake you might encounter. In 5 visits [total about 55 days] I have seen 2 fer-de-lance, both in the caribbean lowlands near La Selva.

Bullet ants, fire ants and army ants are all a concern but with a bit of caution all can be avoided.

Scorpions are fairly common in Guanacaste - always be sure to shake out your shoes in the morning before putting them on.

There are large croodiles in a few places - most notably the Tarcoles River. Caiman are found in numerous locations but are generally shy and not a problem.

Herds of peccaries can be a concern as they are sometimes agressive and can cause one to need to scurry up a tree.

That said, you are almost certain to be fine if you watch where you put your hands and feet, and don't go wandering through the forest off marked trails.

Chances are very good that, except for ants, you will not encounter any 'dangerous' creatures - and watching a group of foraging army ants is truly a fascinating glimpse into tropical nature 'in the raw'.


gannetmusic is offline  
Feb 7th, 2005, 01:28 PM
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Other than a peccary gnashing its teeth at us in La Selva, a coral snake in tortuguero and a fer de lance in Arenal, along with the usual poison arrow frogs and scorpions we haven't seen too much. We hike in a lot of out of the way places. After seeing a special on animal planet, those bullet ants are on my stay away from list! They can put a world of hurt on you for a good 24hrs. Do stay out from under Howler monkeys....they tend to pee (or worse) on you if they are unhappy with your presence.

Costa Rica is a pretty civilized country and not a jungle.
Jessie_ is offline  
Feb 7th, 2005, 02:16 PM
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I would say the most dangerous are of the two-legged variety - after all, we're invading on their turf.

But seriously, there are all kinds of animals & reptiles in CR, that's the lure of it. But actually finding them is a lot harder than it looks. I was lucky enough to see a fer-de-lance, along with some poison arrow frogs (very cute), and really they wanted nothing to do with us. The worst was I got caught up in watching a troop and didn't realize I was standing in red ant grand central. Just enjoy the beauty & be aware of where you put your hands & feet!
tully is offline  
Feb 7th, 2005, 11:04 PM
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Do I dare ask, what's the story about bullet ants?

Melissa5 is offline  
Feb 8th, 2005, 04:56 AM
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There is a bug guy sort of like the crocodile hunter on tv. He actually was filming some of the show in Costa Rica. He intentionally let himself get bit by one of those things on his arm. His arm was in extreme pain for almost 24hrs. They won't kill you but he was really miserable. I have avoided bullet ants just based on people's word down there but now that I know why, it is just below snakes on my list. I have seen lots of them in CR. They generally are on logs crossing paths and are pretty solitary in that they don't travel in groups like most of the other ants. If you see an ant that is at least 1 inch long, and pretty good sized around, walking by all by his lonesome, it is probably a bullet ant. They aren't aggressive so they won't attack you. Just don't let them crawl on you.
Jessie_ is offline  
Feb 8th, 2005, 03:31 PM
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Eeek, thinking about bugs gives me the creeps. Okay, I'm packing 2 pairs of tennis shoes, forget about sandals!

Guess who won't be leaving the path? My husband is a biologist and if he's planning on leaving the path, I'm going to make him shake out all his clothes before he enters our room. Then I'm going to shake him out as well!
Melissa5 is offline  
Feb 8th, 2005, 03:49 PM
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We'll be attempting to stick to the 25lb limit on our packing. But we love to day hike. Figured our boots are too heavy and will get too wet. There are some neat hike shoes now avail that are a cross b/n hike shoes and tevas. They are quick dry (yeah, we'll be there in June)but very open in some areas, with closed toes. Would wearing them with sox be enough protection from these ants I'm hearing tales about?
4explore is offline  
Mar 1st, 2005, 08:39 AM
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4explore, you will be glad to know that in almost 3 weeks this year, I didn't see one bullet ant. As far as the others, if you stand in a bunch of them they will crawl up and bite you no matter what you are wearing. No harm done other than some little pricks but very annoying. It is always a good thing to watch where you are going.

As far as your shoes, I bought some Solomon Tech Amphibians to wear this year. They worked out great in Costa Rica. You can walk through streams or hike up mountains and they are great for both. I always felt like I had sure footing. They were recommended on another board by some people who had worn them when hiking in Corcovado. When doing some serious hiking in La Amistad down in Panama, where it was cooler, I wore little liner socks and they were more than enough to keep the blisters etc at bay. The only time they didn't work out was while walking on the beach. The sand does get through the mesh of the shoe. I also have a similar pair of tevas that are going to need a little more breaking in before I attempt any long hikes in them. The Solomons were comfortable almost immediately. That could just be my feet though.
Jessie_ is offline  
Mar 1st, 2005, 09:09 AM
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I saw a lot of bullet ants while on a canopy tour in the rain forest. Apparently, they liked to walk along the metal support wires of the canopy bridges.

I also saw a very large Fer de Lance in Manuel Antonio. It was in the dirt road on the way to Ronnie Lugar's.
RBCal is offline  
Mar 1st, 2005, 09:17 AM
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Just to clarify, our guide called bullet ants "golden ass" ants, since they have a yellow coloring on their back side.

I also saw an eyelash viper in the rain forest. This scared me more than the Fer de Lance since it hangs out in the trees and blends in very well with the green foliage. It would be easy to not see it and get bitten inadvertently.
RBCal is offline  
Mar 4th, 2005, 04:05 AM
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Watch out for the 2 legged rats that will take anything you leave in your rental car! I too asked about the bullet ants and the locals agreed that you will be in for a hurtin if you encounter these little buggers. In Dominical we were warned about sting rays mating in the shallows and to shuffle your feet in the sand to avoid them.
Bluesmoke2 is offline  
Mar 4th, 2005, 07:11 AM
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You don't only have to watch out if you have a rental car. At my resort in MA, two people took a cab from the airport, as they were checking in a woman with a child asked the check in clerk if they could "take pictures of the pool".
As she distracted the clerk and people checking in, her child stole a bag with their passports and money. Keep an eye on your things no matter where you are.
RBCal is offline  
Mar 4th, 2005, 08:36 AM
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A word of warning about bats. While sitting under a palapa, the 5 long nosed bats who had been sleeping above me, suddenly flew down with one of them flying right into my face! Had I not been wearing sunglasses, this critter could have caused some serious damage.
This was last week at a very nice hotel in the middle of the day. I think they were trying to get rid of me.
joeschmo is offline  
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