Creepy Crawlies of Costa Rica

Fri, Nov 5, 2010

General, International, Outdoors

Creepy Crawlies of Costa Rica

I’ve logged adult years in China and Australia, and I’ve had my share of childhood and teenage Florida vacations where it was Dr. Scholl sandal versus Palmetto Bug.

When it comes to things that crawl, I’ve developed a surprisingly thick skin and calm demeanor.

But when you live in a rural village far, far away from medical care, far away from antidotes to all the various venoms that the insect and reptile kingdoms can throw at a person, you might become uneasy there as the parent of inquisitive little boys.

And so it was that day in my outdoor Spanish lesson when a giant, hairy Costa Rican tarantula decided to crawl toward my sandals.

There was another time, too, when our neighbors’ cat decided he’d like to snack on a live gecko.  So what that we were in Costa Rica—the three of us just stood there and watched in horror.

That gecko was likely one of the little fellows who frequented the walls of our apartment, doing benign, useful things like eating mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes = Your life in Costa Rica when the sun isn’t blazing overhead.   Therefore:

Geckos =  Your friends in Costa Rica.  Let them crawl anywhere in your home they want to.

We had snakes in our midst, and on a nighttime nature hike in Monteverde, we used flashlights to spot boa constrictors and smaller snakes curled up in the trees. Sometimes the fact of roadkill made us aware that snakes could, and did, come on our property.

This fellow was on his way to our yard, when a car intervened....

Tarantulas like to guard their egg sac in the hollow of fallen bamboo. I let our guide shine the flashlight as I stood at a deferential distance with my camera on big-time zoom!

Costa Rica's famous orange-kneed tarantula, with her egg sac

We had the pleasure of visiting live scorpions, leaf insects, walking sticks and other fascinating creepy crawlies in Santa Elena’s Insect World.

Morpho butterflies and other beautiful insects in Santa Elena

But it wasn’t the incredibly gorgeous butterflies that held the boys’ interest.  It was the more fear-inspiring creatures:

A very hands-on insect museum in Costa Rica

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