Water Opossum, Chironectes minimus, Rio Bartola

I’ve been to Nicaragua three times.

First in February 2013, when Fiona Reid led a second Batwatch trip to the country (for a full report of the tour see here). Although I could only get away from work for a weekend, I couldn’t resist the chance to catch bats emerging from the lava tubes of Masaya Volcano and spend a night on the beach at San Juan del Sur. See here for a trip report. In Feb 2014 I returned for 4 nights, this time with Jose Gabriel Martinez and Luis Guttierez, to visit Refugio Bartola, in the south-east on the border with Costa Rica (where Fiona’s 2013 tour had gone), and for more batting at Masaya. See here for a trip report. And in March 2016 I returned,again with Jose Gabriel Martinez and Luis Guttierez, for a mega 8 nights for a trip through Rivas and Jinotega departments then back to Refugio Bartola. See here for a trip report.

Carazo Department

Wagner’s Bonneted Bat, Eumops glaucinus

Santa Theresa

I spent a night here in 2016 catching bats around Jose’s parents houses, and from Jose’s roof. Little Yellow-shouldered Bat, Central American Yellow Bat, Wagner’s Bonneted Bat, Big Crested Mastiff Bat, Bonda Mastiff Bat, Pallas’ Mastiff Bat, Alvarez’s Mastiff Bat, Jamaican Fruit-eating Bat, Argentine Brown Bat, Mesoamerican Moustached Bat.

Jinotega Department

Tayra, Eira barbara , El Jaguar

El Jaguar

During a night in 2016 we saw Richmond’s Squirrel, Tayra,Vesper Rat, Short-nosed Harvest Mouse, Bushy-tailed Olingo, Alfaro’s Rice Rat, Great Fruit-eating Bat, Chestnut Short-tailed Bat, Sowell’s Short-tailed Bat, Toltec Fruit-eating Bat, Deppe’s Squirrel, Central American Agouti, Paca, House Mouse.


I spent a night here in 2016. Little Yellow-shouldered Bat, Vesper Rat,Honduran Yellow-shouldered Bat, Brazilian Brown Bat, Godman’s Whiskered Long-nosed Bat, Forest Spiny Pocket Mouse, Nicaraguan Deer Mouse, Alston’s Singing Mouse, Jamaican Fruit-eating Bat, Thomas’ Fruit-eating Bat, Mesoamerican Moustached Bat, Toltec Fruit-eating Bat, Brown Long-tongued Bat, Geoffroy’s Tailless Bat, Big Brown Bat, Nine-banded Armadillo, Paca, Dark (or Northern possibly) Four-eyed Opossum.

Masaya Department

Grey Sac-winged Bat, Balantiopteryx plicata, Masaya Volcano

Apoyo Lake

An hour in 2016 checking out roosts here produced Northern (Tiny) Big-eared Bats, Greater Spear-nosed Bats, Seba’s Short-tailed Bats, Greater and Lesser White-lined Bats.

Parque Nacional Volcan Masaya

I spent time here bat netting for a night 2013 and another in 2014, and two hours in 2016. In 2013: Mesoamerican (formerly Parnell’s) and Lesser Moustached Bats, plus Davy’s and Big Naked-backed Bats emerging from lava tubes. In 2014 we caught Thomas’s and Jamaican Fruit-eating Bats, Grey Short-tailed Bat, Commissaris’s , Merriam’s and Gray’s Long-tongued Bats and a Salvin’s Spiny Pocket Mouse.  I also saw a Southern Spotted Skunk, Mexican Porcupine and Central American Woolly Opossum, plus a  roost of Grey Sac-winged Bats with a few Merriam’s Long-tongued Bats thrown in. In 2016 we failed to find the Hairy-legged Vampire Bats in a lava tube, and saw just a few Merriam’s Long-tongued Bats and some Seba’s Short-tailed Bats.

Rio San Juan Department

Common Vampire Bat (Desmodus rotundus)

El Castillo

I spent a night in 2016 here and saw Long-whiskered Rice Rat, a Harvest Mouse species (possibly new), Jamaican Fruit-eating Bat and Heller’s Broad-nosed Bat.

Refugio Bartola

During a three night stay in 2014 we saw Smoky Bat, Spix’s Disc-winged Bat, Proboscis Bat, Greater and Lesser White-lined Bats, Common Vampire Bat, Woolly False Vampire Bat, Riparian Myotis, Chestnut, Seba’s and Sowell’s Short-tailed Bats, Great and Pygmy Fruit-eating Bats, Hairy Big-eared Bat and Lesser Fishing Bat, Commissaris’s  and Merriam’s Long-tongued BatsWater Opposum, Central American Agouti, Central American Spider Monkey, Mantled Howler Monkey, Kinkajou, Red-tailed and Deppe’s Squirrel, Mexican Porcupine, Central American Woolly Opossum and we heard a Jaguar. We returned for an afternoon in 2016 and added Black and Yellow Rice Rat to the list, as well as some of the bats we’d seen previously.

San Miguelito

A night in 2016 produced Little Yellow-shouldered Bat, Striped Hog-nosed Skunk, Elegant Myotis, Greater Spear-nosed Bat, Greater White-lined Bat, Seba’s Short-tailed Bat, Merriam’s Long-tongued Bat, Jamaican Fruit-eating Bat, Great Fruit-eating Bat, Argentine Brown Bat, Common Vampire Bat, Greater Fishing Bat, Fringe-lipped Bat, Black Myotis, Southern Opossum, Dark (or Northern possibly) Four-eyed Opossum, Variegated Squirrel, Gabb’s Cottontail, Northern Raccoon.

Spix’s Disk-winged Bat, Thyroptera tricolor

Rivas Department

Ostional Beach

El Abuelo Caves

In one hour in 2016 we saw a Fringe-lipped BatLong-legged Bat, Mexican and Woolly Funnel-eared Bats, Grey Sac-winged Bats, Lesser Dog-like Bats, Seba’s Short-tailed Bats, White-throated Capuchin and Central American Spider Monkeys.


Three nights in 2016 were productive with Northern Big-eared Bat, Little Yellow-shouldered Bat, Central American Yellow Bat, Miller’s Mastiff Bat, Mexican Funnel-eared Bat, Mesoamerican Round-eared Bat, Striped Hog-nosed Skunk, Jamaican Fruit-eating Bat, Pallas’ Mastiff Bat, Argentine Brown Bat, Common Moustached Bat, Big Naked-backed Bat, Lesser Moustached Bat, Thomas’ Fruit-eating Bat, Hairy Big-eared Bat, Common Vampire Bat, Gray Short-tailed Bat, Northern Stripe-headed Round-eared Bat, Greater Fishing Bat, Virginia Opossum, Southern Opossum, Northern Tamandua, Mexican Hairy Dwarf Porcupine, Variegated Squirrel, Gray Fox, Great Fruit-eating Bat, Central American Woolly Opossum, Kinkajou, Hooded Skunk, Southern Spotted Skunk, Schmidts’ Big-eared Bat, Pale Spear-nosed Bat, Greater White-lined Bat, Spectral Bat, Mexican Dog-faced Bat, Mantled Howler.

San Juan Del Sur

I spent a night here in 2013 and saw Pantropical Spotted Dolphins and a Virginia Opposum.

Photographing Skunks, Ostional (photo Jose Gabriel Martinez)

Community Reports

The World’s Best Mammalwatching

Nicaragua hit the mammalwatching headlines in 2013 with news that a young Nicaraguan biologist was able to catch Water Opossums (Yapoks) by hand. That biologist – Jose Gabriel Martinez – very quickly became the stuff of legend. The man has an uncanny ability to catch animals. In fact it borders on a superpower. I’ve watched him crawl into a hollow log and snatch a bat out of the air in the dark, and leap over a fence to land on a mouse.  Jose organised some intense – and record breaking – mammal trips around his homeland. In 2016 he and I found 86 species in 8 days! Jose Gab is now at graduate school in the USA, so like several other mammalwatchers I am counting the days until he graduates and returns home. Meanwhile check out his photos.  See more of the World’s Best Mammalwatching.

Community Reports

Southern Nicaragua Bat Surveys, 2024: Charles Hood and Jose Gabriel Martinez Fonseca, 1 week & 37 species with 29 bats including Nicaraguan Little Yellow Bat and Argentine Brown Bat.

Nicaragua, 2018: Curtis Hart, 3 weeks & 50 species including Sword-nosed and Wrinkle-faced Bats, Southern Spotted Skunk and Mexican Mouse Opossum.

Nicaragua, 2018: Mac Hunter, 8 days (without Jose Gabriel) & 35 species including Southern Spotted Skunk, Yapok & Mexican Dog-faced Bat. And a postcript here (be careful in bat caves!).

Nicaragua, 2017: Charles Hood, 6 days & 56 species including Tri-coloured and Velvety Fruit-eating Bats, Bushy-tailed Olingo and Hooded Skunk.

Nicaragua, 2016: Jon Hall, 8 nights & 86 species including Tayra, Spotted & Hog-nosed Skunks, Spectral Bat, Mexican Dog-faced Bat and many more.

Nicaragua, 2016: Fiona Reid, 14 days and another incredible haul: 84 species including Pale-faced Bat, Greater Doglike Bat, Spectral Bat, Zeledon’s Mouse Opossum and the first record for Nicaragua of a Rufous Tree Rat.

Nicaragua, 2015: Fiona Reid, 14 days and an incredible 87 species with a ton of cool bats including Spectral Bat and Wrinkle-faced Bat, Jaguarundi, Zeledon’s Mouse Opposum and much much more. An incredible 2 weeks. Not satisfied with the 87 species, Mike Richardson extended his tour for 3 days and saw 25 species, another 5 or 6 of which were new for the tour including Woolly Funnel-eared and Big-crested Mastiff Bats.

Nicaragua, 2014: Jon Hall, 4 nights & 33 species including a Water Opossum, Southern Spotted Skunk and Woolly False Vampire Bat.

Nicaragua, 2014: Fiona Reid, 12 days & 43 species. Another great trip with highlights including Jaguarundi, Hooded, Spotted and Hog-nosed Skunk and Brown Four-eyed Opossum.

Nicaragua, 2013: Jon Hall, 2 nights & 6 species including four Pteronotus bats and Pantropical Spotted Dolphins.

Nicaragua, 2013: Fiona Reid Batwatch Tour, 8 days & 48 species on a great tour that included some stuff rarely recorded on trips, including some cool bats and rodents and, best of all in my opinion, a Water Opposum.

Nicaragua, 2011: Fiona Reid Batwatch Tour, 8 days & 40 species of bats caught (plus other critters seen but not recorded here).

Nicaragua, 2010: Vladimir Dinets, 10 days & a variety of bats and rodents.

Nicaragua, 2007: Michal Polanski, 3 weeks & 10 species including Tayra, both Sloths and a Kinkajou.

Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Guatemala: Curtis Hart – a few notes on different national parks.

Also See

Hitosplasmosis risk from bat caves (February 2018).

Great Rat Catches of the World (February 2017): Jose Gabriel Martinez’s extraordinary attempst to catch a Rufous Tree Rat by hand.

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