While I am a nature enthusiast I do have “issues” – like panicking when some insect flies at my face. You can read about this fear here. Otherwise I am fairly fearless about taking photos of those creatures that others might find scary – like these harmless nectar drinking long nosed bats lined up to take a rest on a tree limb. Their coloring was so on point with the gradations of the bark that it took me awhile to see them and take this photo.
I do have a very healthy respect and keep my distance from those little beasties that carry some nasty equipment. Take for example this ant:
Now most of us let ants go about their business without a second thought – unless you were one of the cruel kids I remember from childhood who tried to burn them with a magnifying glass – shame, shame. There are some ant species, however that require notice. For example, when I hiked in Costa Rica on my first visit, I wore leather gloves to prevent me from accidentally coming into contact with red army ants that crawled about in the rainforest, as they can deliver a nasty bite. Army ants are nothing compared to the bullet ant above. If fact, there are placards all around hiking areas in Costa Rica warning people NOT to touch handrails. Why?
The bullet ant often uses the rails as a conduit. Their bite is not the problem, although their jaws are pretty fierce:
Their stinger, however is something else. The bullet ant’s sting is known for being the most painful sting of any insect. The pain, which has been compared to being shot with a bullet, can last up to 24 hours.
Through a bit of diligence I managed to stay clear.
There were other small creatures that presented real danger. I love bright colors, but unlike flowers, vivid hues on an animal usually mean one thing: poison. Having a 600mm zoom lens was critical to photographing these beauties:
The first frog is called the bluejeans frog due to the blue color of its legs and feet. It is tiny – less than an inch long. The second is striped frog of similar size. Slightly larger at 1-2 inches is the yellow banded frog. All are classified as dart frogs, one the most toxic animals on earth. The poison from these frogs were used for centuries by indigenous tribes of the area to tip blowgun darts for hunting, giving these frogs their common name.
I was happy to find a cousin of theirs, a small rain frog hiding in a plant – it is not poisonous – even so, I didn’t disturb it from its hidey spot:
Then, of course there are the snakes. Let me caveat this section by stating that all of these poisonous snakes were safely behind glass partitions. While they are beautiful in their own way, they are quite deadly:
Eyelash Pit Viper:
Yellow eyelash palm pit viper:
Terciopelo Fer-De-Lance Asp -this is the most dangerous snake of Central and South America, and causes more human deaths than any other American reptile:
And, one non-venomous very pretty Birdsnake
I will mention that we did see a viper nestled in a tree below us as we traversed a hanging suspension bridge in Arenal later in our journey. While we did not have an interaction, this hike was not without mishap. To be told in a later post.