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Know more about Flora & Fauna of Costa Rica
Costa Rica is home to a rich variety of plants and animals. While the country has only about 0.1% of the world's landmass, it contains 5% of the world's biodiversity. Around 25% of the country's land area is in protected national parks and protected areas, the largest percentage of protected areas in the world.
One national park that is internationally-renowned among ecologists for its biodiversity (including big cats and tapirs) and where visitors can expect to see an abundance of wildlife is the Corcovado National Park.
Tortuguero National Park is home to spider, howler and white-throated Capuchin monkeys, the three-toed sloth, 320 species of birds, and a variety of reptiles, but is recognized for the annual nesting of the endangered green turtle and is the most important nesting site for the species. Giant leatherback, hawksbill, and loggerhead turtles also nest there.
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is home to about 2,000 plant species, including numerous orchids. Over four hundred types of birds can be found here, and over one hundred species of mammals. As a whole, around eight hundred species of birds have been identified in Costa Rica. See the Bird Watching section from more information.
Costa Rica and parts of Panama are home to the highly endangered Red Backed Squirrel Monkey. Deforestation, illegal pet-trading and hunting are the main reasons for its nearly extinct status.
Costa Rica is home to around 175 amphibians, 85% of which are frogs. Frogs in Costa Rica have interesting ways of finding fishless water to raise their young in. Fish, of course, will eat tadpoles and eggs. Poison Dart Frogs put their eggs in water pools in bromeliads. Other methods include searching ponds before laying eggs, and laying eggs in wet soil. There are 35 species of Elutherodoctylus frogs, 26 species of Hyla frogs and 13 species of glassfrogs.
There are about 1,250 species of butterflies and at least 8,000 species of moths. Butterflies and moths are common year round but are more present during the rainy season.
Approximately 225 reptiles are found in Costa Rica. This includes over 70 species of lizards, mostly small, forest-dwelling anoles. Large lizards such as basilisk and Green iguanas are probably the country's most regularly-encountered reptiles. Snakes number about 120 species in the country, including 5 powerful boas and a wide diversity of harmless colubrids. There are about 20 venomous snakes, including colourful coral snakes and various vipers such as the common eyelash viper and two formidable, large bushmasters.
Costa Rica is home to nearly 250 species of mammal. Medium-sized forest-dwelling mammals are often the most appreciated mammalian fauna of country. These include monkeys such as the frantic White-headed Capuchin and noisy Mantled Howlers.
Protecting the Treasure
There are currently 26 National Parks of Costa Rica, which are managed under the umbrella of SINAC (Sistema Nacional de Areas de Conservacion), a department of Costa Rica's Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE).
Costa Rica's progressive policies on environmental protection and sustainable ecotourism in the National Parks System have been lauded as a model for other countries. The rainforests, tropical forests, marine areas and wetlands of Costa Rica are the subject of many university and scientific organization studies. The enrichment of the world's knowledge of these important habitats is an invaluable contribution from the National Parks System of Costa Rica.
The Cordillera de Talamanca is home to an impressive collection of national parks and other preserved areas, including the La Amistad International Park, which extends into Panamá. On the southern Osa Peninsula is the internationally renowned Corcovado National Park, which preserves a remnant of sizeable lowland tropical rainforest that is unique in the world.
The National Parks
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