One of the best things about living here is that Playa Guiones is a few houses surrounded by jungle rather than a few trees surrounded by buildings. So we get a lot of cool stuff sneaking around the place looking for food or just hanging out. Harry bought a guide to Costa Rica’s wildlife and while I we haven’t seen most of the thousands of types of animals which live in the jungle here, there are a few which you see on a regular basis. So here’s our guide to the wild things at the Surf Simply resort. (We threw a dummy one in here too just to catch you out.)
These cute, squeaking snifflers are called Pezotes (left). They look kind of like an ant eater and are about the size of a small dog. You see them almost everyday as they rumage around for food. They often cross the road in height order which is pretty comical and makes them look like something out of a disney cartoon.
Armadillos (center) often come out in the evening to have a snuffle around and see what’s going on. It really is a miracle that these animals have survived the centuries. They are staggeringly unobservant. You can see one go home, get a flash light, come back sit down next to it, watch it eat for 5 minutes then suddenly it’s ears will twitch as if it may have detected your presence, finally.
We’ve seen less than half a dozen Boas (right) in all the years we’ve lived here. On one occasion, we saw a baby boa hanging out on the patio as we welcomed in one of our guests. Normally people rapidly back away when they see snakes in the wild but not this guy. He picked up the snake and it coiled around his hand while he cooly and calmly got his camera out with the other.
The Racoons are disconcertingly confident sons of biscuits with irritatingly useful opposable thumbs. They visit our outdoor kitchen almost every night. I’ve got to hand it to them, they are pretty smart and team up to open cupboards, doors and jars. No morsel of food is safe. Sometimes they like to eat the left overs and sometimes they like to just spread the food around the kitchen as a kind of performance piece.
The Howler Monkeys (centre), everybody loves these guys. You don’t see them everyday but they usually put in an appearance about once a week. They sound like a lion and can scare the bejeepers out of you if you don’t know what they are when you hear them roar. They seem to have defied Darwin’s best theory by evolving low hanging bright white testicles which seem less than ideal for an animal that spends so much time swinging through trees.
The BBC’s Blue Planet series famously filmed the Ridley Turtles (right) laying their eggs on the next beach north of Nosara. Every now and again, we see them here in front of the resort. They tend to lay their eggs on a half moon so that the big tides don’t wash away the sand which protects their eggs.
The Green Iguana (left) is the iconic Costa Rican animal. You see them around a lot and they get pretty big, up to about 4ft long. They’re just one of the thousands of different types of lizards you’ll see though. The lizards are all basically the good guys. They eat creepy crawlies and insects and generally mind there own business although a big one did get into the pool with Ru once and he got out pretty fast.
It’s pretty cool seeing a Humming Bird (centre) anywhere but especially cool when it’s during breakfast and accompanied by a butterfly about twice as big as it is.
The Moishe Plush (right) is absolutely terrifying (despite being entirely fictitious) what with the gnashing of it’s terrible teeth and the stamping of it’s terrible feet.
Ru & Gem saw a Jaguar (left) once run across the road in front of the Surf Simply resort. A few days later it came flying through the trees chasing something which probably didn’t stand a chance. Sadly there aren’t many of these beautiful animals around any more.
Our friend Jake reckons that the Black Vultures, which regularly circle over head, are the most evolved creatures alive because they never need to make any noise and enjoy eating anything. Interesting criteria for a perfect being, well Ru’s half way there.
Last but not least the crazy little orange and purple Land Crabs which scuffle through the jungle. It’s hilarious watching these little fellows having a stand off with a dog (which seems to happen a lot). The dog towers over the tiny little crab cheerfully terrifying it while the crab lifts up one disproportionately large (but still relatively tiny) claw as if it knows some ninja moves which the dog is about to unwittingly fall victim to. The dog barks then wanders off distracted by something more interesting. The crab remains unflinchingly triumphant, safe in the believe that it has some kind of control over all the things the world is likely to throw at it. There’s probably a bit of land crab in all of us.