March 18, 2017

Unexpected High-Altitude Nocturnal Mammals of the Caribbean

 The title of this post might sound overly specific, but Cahuita was crawling with strange mammals late at night. Starting off, the kinkajou is not only a catching tune from 1927 but also a strange raccoon variant, because Costa Rica LOVES weird variations of raccoons. They are solitary and shy with a prehensile tail to move around in the tops of trees. This was the only one we saw, but the species was high on my list so I was glad for the chance.
 Literally 15 minutes before the kinkajou and even in the exact same tree we also saw this common opossum. They ALSO like to climb trees at night with their prehensile tails. While conventional lore tells you that opossums will play dead when in danger, our guidebook says that this species elects to twirl around spraying feces when threatened, so bring a zoom lens and don't try to get too close!
 We talked about sloths just a few weeks ago, but I thought this picture was a nice addition to round out the set. Although we only saw the one, it is not uncommon to see sloths moving about on the powerlines of Costa Rica, and so long as they only touch one at a time they do just fine (the same way birds can perch without danger). The problem comes if they switch from one line to another at a post and suddenly become an unexpected conductor. Sloths are surprisingly resilient and often survive such a shock (there are several rescues that take in electrocuted sloths) but it can't be good for them overall and many are killed each year from this unfortunate situation.

No comments:

Post a Comment