Costa Rica trip report

Hi all,

I’ve just uploaded a report from a fun visit to Costa Rica in March with Alex Meyer:

We saw a remarkable ~72 species, with highlights including Alston’s Mouse Opossum, Central American Silky Anteater, Chiriqui Harvest Mouse, and over 45 species of bats – with Smoky Bat, Northern Ghost Bat, Thumbless Bat, and 2 Disc-winged Bat species at the top. Thank you Vino de Backer for guiding and logistics!



  • JanEbr

    This is really inspirational! Truth to be told, I am not that interested in seeing 45 species of bats – maybe if I ever learn ho to ID them, but for now, it’s just “bats” to me and I can’t find a way to change that … but even the other mammals are so interesting. At first look, 27 species of non-bats doesn’t seem that absurd for Costa Rica … but, wait, you have not been to Osa! The rodent list is particularly impressive – from reading the text, I gathered that you saw three species at Los Quetzales with the traps, were those seen only in traps and were those the only rodents seen only in traps? I am just trying to split your list into trapped vs. seen wild, as I am personally not very interested in trapping (nothing against you doing that, just my way of watching).

    • vnsankar

      Thanks, Jan! To answer your question, only 11 species were seen through trapping alone: 2 rodent sp. in Los Quetzales (Sherman trap) and 9 bat sp. at Monteverde & Sylvan (mistnet). So we still had ~60 species seen through “wilder” means, which I’m very pleased with. We just saw a lot of bats at roost (mostly thanks to Vino’s knowledge & access) at heat-scoped a lot of rodents etc. I agree with you somewhat, I’m growing less and less fond of trapping though it still the only feasible way to see and ID many cool species (e.g. cloud forest rodents & bats).

      It’s true we gave very little effort to the large mammals. I reckon if the trip were a week longer, giving us time to focus more on large mammals in Osa and Guanacaste (pick up obvious misses like tapir, spider monkey, three-toed sloth, white-tailed deer, raccoons and skunks etc), and mistnet and trap in more habitats, we’d easily get 100+ species. With one caveat – Costa Rica, while very rich in mammals, ain’t Kenya; you need to trap & intensively seek out bats to get these totals.

  • JanEbr

    Yeah, Costa Rica is also more than 10 times smaller than Kenya (actually surprised me to see the numbers, I knew it would be a lot, but not ten!). Costa Rica is actually smaller than the Czech Republic – well it definitely doesn’t feel like it when traveling through for hours upon hours. So the numbers are really impressive for the area. I am quite happy to see that only 2 rodents were trapped only, that gives a lot of promise. We have two weeks free in July and I have STILL not decided where to go – I am thinking something interesting yet easy, maybe Costa Rica again would actually do it! This time just unapologetically ignoring all the famous big mammals and birds altogether and just heatscoping most of the night in random areas 🙂 With the night curfew removed it would be now much easier …

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