We found this caiman while hiking the Raphia trail at the station.
So we first arrived in San Jose on July 4th and went for a site seeing tour of the city with Josh. San Jose contains 25% of Costa Ricas total population so there are a lot of interesting sites to see. While walking around we came upon a group of break dancers on the street. They were dancing on the cement, which was a great site for me because it showed hip hop is universal. The hotel we stayed at had a beautiful view of the mountains in the distance from the rooftop. The next day we had to make a quick detour to get passport photos for our research assistant permits before going to Cano Palma Biological research station. Even on our first day the country welcomed us with rain which has continued up until now.
Once we arrived, we had a tour of our new home for the next 6 weeks. We met Charlotte the station manager who lives across the canal in San Francisco. We also met Juancho who is about 6 feel long, and is an adult male spectacled caiman that lives beside the dock. We swim in the canal with him and he has no interest in us except when we feed him leftovers at lunch and dinner. Picking out the meet and eating the fish that come for the rest.
My first 2 nights of turtle patrol we found 2 turtles that had passed away because of poachers roping up their fins and somehow loosing them to the ocean, demonstrating the importance of patrols being on the beach as often as possible to detour them from taking the sea turtles for meat, shells, and eggs. It takes over 25 years for these turtles to reach breeding maturity so the loss of one adult female turtle means the death of thousands of possible eggs. Within the first 2 weeks we spent a lot of time training for beach patrols which included triangulation training to find nests later, digging fake egg chambers to trick the poachers, excavation of egg chambers and tagging training.
In the first 4 days we had a boa that had been injured with a knife in multiple places. Educating the public on how to handle or who to call when a snake invades their personal space is so important.
Red-eyed Tree Frog
There are 3 types of monkeys around the station: capuchin’s, spider monkeys, and howler monkeys. I have been lucky enough to see all 3. The howlers however, seem to be around the most but that could just because of the constant monstrous sound the make. There are many different reptiles and amphibians to be seen on the close by trails and even on the station. The most common being dart frogs, bull frogs, various types of gecko’s and skink’s. On a night hike we were also fortunate enough to see a green-boned frog. Some of the snakes I have had the pleasure of seeing are blunt-headed tree snakes, cat-eyed snakes, coffee snakes, a bromiliad boa, snail eaters, and one tiger rat snake. The 2 most exciting have been the venomous Fer de Lance and eyelash vipers. Although you cant be guaranteed to spot anything while out, the night snake patrols are my favorite part of being here. I’m hoping to be able to get out on a caiman census on the canal next Friday if time allows it.
There are a variety of birds here including toucans, great kiskadee’s, tri-colored herons, bare-throated tiger herons, frigate birds and ringed king fishers. There is also a small group of bats that live on the dock that I enjoy watching fly around and catch bugs at night time. Now that we have received our permits as of yesterday I hope to be able to get much more hands on with the turtles, which should make up for constantly getting drenched during our 7 mile beach hikes. The last couple nights have seen a surge of green sea turtles coming to the beach to nest. I’m also praying for this constant rain to stop and give us a few days of sun.