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Mammals of Costa Rica

Jaguar (Panthera Onca)

Fossils tell us that 245 million years ago mammals began to evolve. It wasn't until the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago that the mammal became the dominant species on the planet. Did you know that if you walk up to a chimpanzee and talk to him about his "great, great, great, great, & say this 250,000 times" then that will be your same great grandfather. Evolution has shown us that all living humans evolved from those first mammals and the human species is known as the 3rd chimpanzee. Some might not like the way that sounds but during your Costa Rica vacation it could come in handy during the zipline or the waterfall rappel.

The mammals of Costa Rica are probably best known for their four different species of monkeys, whales, and cats. Of the 200 species of mammals found in Costa Rica half of them are bats but they don't attract the attention of many ecotourist as much as the monkeys.

It always seems that during your vacation the eco-tourist gets excited most about seeing mammals. Maybe it is because we are mammals and we feel that we are seeing our wild side. Or maybe it is because mammals are tough to see in Costa Rica. Chances are if you go to the right spot you can count on seeing monkeys but your chances of seeing a large feline cat are almost non-existing. The famous Tapir seems to be just as allusive along with ant-eaters, peccaries, and porcupines. Mammals are not dumb and if you really want to get to see some mammals you have to visit some remote Costa Rican ecolodges and get off the beaten path.

Take a look at a list of some of the mammals we enjoy seeing most on any Costa Rica adventure.

  • Central American Woolly Opossum
  • Common Opossum
  • Gray Four-eyed Opossum
  • Water Opossum
  • Great Fishing Bat
  • Common Vampire Bat
  • False Vampire Bat
  • Sucker-footed Bat
  • Nectar Bat
  • Red-backed Squirrel Monkey
  • White-faced Capuchin
  • Mantled Howler Monkey
  • Central American Spider Monkey
  • Northern Tamandua
  • Hoffman's Two-toed Sloth
  • Brown-throated Three-toed Sloth
  • Silky Anteater
  • Nine-banded Armadillo
  • Giant Anteater
  • Mexican Hairy Porcupine
  • Paca
  • Central American Agouti
  • Jaguarundi
  • Ocelot
  • Margay
  • Jaguar
  • Gray Fox
  • Coyote
  • Tayra
  • Hooded Skunk
  • Striped Hog-nosed Skunk
  • Neotropical Otter
  • Grison
  • Long-tailed Weasel
  • Olingo
  • Kinkajou
  • Crab-eating Raccoon
  • Northern Raccoon
  • White-nosed Coati
  • Baird's Tapir
  • Collared Peccary
  • White-lipped Peccary
  • White-tailed Deer
  • Red Brocket Deer