Friday, February 23, 2018

Zoo, Sloths

Monday, upon returning to San Ramon we decided to visit a local zoo that had injured animals they had rescued and hoped to release back into the wild. There was a toucan with an artificial bill. Apparently, toucans monitor their temperature through their bill and not to have one means the bird cannot control its body temperature.
I am an owl lover so to see this owl close up was a treat. It was a spectacled owl and looking at its face you can see how it gets its name.
We past several iguanas who appeared to be quite tame and not afraid of humans. One of them had its throat "pouch" in view. I do not know the correct term for this part of the iguana's body.
We spotted a heron enjoying his lunch of fish.
The highlight of the day was to see a sloth in a tree. If it had not been for a zoo worker we would not have known about the sloth as he had to point it out to us.

The zoo was in the process of building a new aviary so to hide the work they built a fence around the site and had it painted with life size birds.  it was quite impressive.
The zoo had a cute display of tamarinds.
In one of the cages all by himself or herself was an albino squirrel.
The final cage contained some cockateals who appeared to be smooching. One of them even had their eyes closed.

So ended our day at the zoo.
We are on the road again. This time to Manuel Antonio which is a National Park on the Pacific Coast. It was about 120 miles from San Ramon and took us over 4 hours to get there because part of the journey was on a dirt road. We also had to squeeze past grazing cattle.

I was quite worried about driving on the dirt road because I was afraid we would get a puncture and be miles from anywhere. Had we got a puncture it would have been very difficult to change the tyre on the very uneven road surface.
On the road to Manuel Antonio we had to go over a bridge. Prior to the bridge Gary pulled the car over to the side of the road and told me to get my camera. I did what he asked and got out the car to walk on the bridge where there was a large group of spectators looking down onto the river. When I got to the crowd I could see what they were looking at - a large group of crocodiles.

Apparently someone feeds the crocodiles chicken so they know where to gather for free food. Gary had known about this prior to our journey.
We had a bed and breakfast in Matapolo booked for 2 nights. When we arrived we were greeted by the owners to took us to a lovely large bedroom and bathroom, with a patio and a view of the swimming pool. Temperatures here, I would guess were in the 90s and more humid than where we are staying in San Ramon.
The owner told us that between 6am and 6:30am monkeys stray across the property on the wires put up specifically for that purpose. We got up early on our last day to see the monkeys which were white faced capuchins. One of them had killed a fair sized lizard and carried it across the wires in one of his hands. There were others that carried babies on their backs.

One of the monkeys was quite clever. To avoid falling he had his tail wrapped around the upper wire and walked on the lower wire. Apparently, they are the brains of the monkey species.
We came to Matapolo for a specific reason and that was to visit a wildlife sanctuary. Like the zoo, they take in injured animals and then release them as near as possible to where they were injured. If the animal has been taken in because it was confiscated and used to humans, the animal cannot be released back into the wild so will stay in the sanctuary for the rest of its life. The sanctuary had many parrots, monkeys, sloths and a raccoon.

The above monkey as you can see was on the outside of a cage. In the cage were three female monkeys and he was trying to mate with them. He got quite aggressive with the females who were being given birth control to prevent them from having babies. The sanctuary tries very hard to not let their animals mate because the offspring will become used to humans and it will be difficult to place them in the wild without them approaching people.

The above monkey was from Panama and confiscated when it was brought into Costa Rica. It was believed it was the only one of its type in the country.

Even though there was not a lot to see, I enjoyed our visit to the Alturas Wild Life Sanctuary. In the afternoon we visited the beach near our B & B. It was practically deserted except for a couple of people lounging on chairs near to the water.

I spotted this piece of driftwood and if you use your imagination I think it looks like a mouse or a long nosed dog.

The next day we were to leave Matapolo for home. Prior to leaving for home we planned on visiting Manuel Antonio National Park.

We had been warned about the park being very commercialized and boy! where they right. There were long lines to go into the park and many men touting that they were the best guide to take you through the park. They all had scopes to help you see the animals better. I had my zoom lens so hoped I did not need a scope.

 The entrance fee to the park was $16 each and the "guides" were wanting anything from $40 to $75. We decided against the guide and risked being able to spot the wildlife by ourselves. The day was extremely hot and humid and at then end of the trail into the park was a lovely beach. Had we taken our swimsuits that would have been a most delightful way to cool off.

We saw two types of monkeys and heard another type called the Howler. Even though we never saw them, they could be heard howling all over the park.
The first monkey we saw was a squirrel monkey. It was much smaller than the capuchins we had seen earlier in the day.

We did see some capuchins who were drawing a large crowd of spectators to witness their antics.

We also saw some large colorful crabs and a raccoon that overtook us on one of the trails. Unlike the raccoons in the USA, this one is diurnal and eats fish. He did not seem to pay any attention to us on the trail.

And that was about all we saw at Manuel Antonio except for a lot of people attempting to see wildlife which was long gone because of the commotion people made.

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