Saturday, March 11, 2000
Mindful of our earlier experience at Manuel Antonio National Park, Darla and I got up particularly early to return to Carara Biological Reserve for a morning walk along the edge of a river. It was still cool and comfortable at this hour as evidenced by the fact that we gave no thought at all to the tropical climate. What did get our attention was the wildlife: There were anhingas diving for fish while other birds watched from the trees. There were basilisks (aka Jesus Christ lizards) running across the water; and giant iguanas wandering down the middle of the trail. There were hummingbirds hovering around the heliconias and morning glories. And there were little crocs hanging out along the riverbank, no doubt biding their time until becoming big enough to compete with the man-eaters in the main channel of the Rio Tarcoles. (These juvenile crocs may actually have been caiman. It can be hard to tell them apart. Caiman tend to be shy so one rule of thumb is that if it runs it is a caiman; if it eats you it is a croc.)
At one point we heard a creature thrashing through the underbrush just off trail. I imagined it being a wild boar. A wild boar is the last thing you want to encounter in the forest. They will come after you. When being chased by a wild boar, climbing a tree is the recommended response—though this too has a downside as there are plenty of tree-dwelling creatures you want to avoid as well. Then there is the fact that not all trees are meant to be climbed. In this case the ruckus turned out to be a coatimundi that headed in the opposite direction as soon as it spotted us.
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