Monday, March 16, 2009

Tortuguero National Park entrance

This is the entrance to Tortuguero National Park. Most visitors arrive and tour the park wetlands by boat, as the hiking trails do not cross the maze of rivers and canals. That is why the park entrance booth faces the water.

Parque Nacional Tortuguero is 190 sq. km., or 73 sq. miles. It also includes a marine protected area that extends 22.5 km (14 miles) out to sea, and 39.5 km (19 miles) of shore line are protected.

As reflected by the painting on the front of the rustic park entrance, there are manatees in the area. There are also howler monkeys, spider monkeys, white-faced capuchin monkeys, jaguars, ocelots, tapirs, caiman, 309 species of birds, and 60 species of frogs!

The manatee population in the park is stable, and perhaps increasing, despite the fact that they are a threatened species. Manatees are sometimes called a sea cow, and they are like a walrus without tusks. They are 3.7 meters (12 ft.) long, and weigh 1 ton (907 kg.).

Manatees are rarely seen because they spend most of their time under water, and they prefer the lagoons in the west end of the park, whereas most visitors spend more time in the waterways closer to the coast. My National Geographic guide book for Costa Rica says that the best way to tell that there are manatees is to watch for bubbles floating up, and the book goes on to explain that the bubbles are a byproduct of the aquatic plants that the manatees eat.

One of the more unusual animals in the park is called the greater, fishing, or bulldog bat (Noctilio leporinus). It is a large bat that swoops over the water and catches fish with its finger and toe nails. We did not see one, but we did see, and I will show you in the days ahead caiman, examples of the abundant birds, a poison dart frog and eyelash pit viper.

6 comments:

brattcat said...

Love the information. The photo. And that watchdog, curled against the post.

Dave-CostaRicaDailyPhoto.com said...

Brattcat,
Thank you for again noticing the details in the photos, as you did yesterday. The park attendant's dog who is barely visible in this photo shortly thereafter got up from being curled up on the deck and took a closer look at us. I have another photo of him, which I may post in a week or so. I did not want to begin a series on Tortuguero with a photo of a dog because Tortuguero is a remote place that people travel to in order to see tropical animals in the wild.

My mother-in-law is an extreme dog lover. On our travels, I take photos of dogs aroud the world, which I give to her, and she has several albuns of my dog photos on her cofee table.

Julie ScottsdaleDailyPhoto.com said...

interesting information about manatees, but don't forget the turtles! That is also one of the special things about this location and its name is the turtles. I would have liked to see the bat though. Sounds cool.

Jarart said...

Very exotic from the description. It would be fantastic to see so many kinds of birds in one place. The sounds would be amazing.

glenda said...

Great information. That is good to hear that the manatee is thriving there. Looking forward to hearing more on animals of Tortuguego. Wow, I must be slipping I missed the dog. Good eye brattcat!

Abe said...

Hurrah for the manatee. I saw them in Florida with prop marks or scars in their backs. What a painful thing that must be.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...