Crocodiles Galore: Spotting Endangered Species in the Osa Peninsula
Costa Rica is home to many endangered species including the intimating crocodile, the legendary sea turtle and lovable frog. All these creatures live on the beautiful Osa Peninsula. With so many different endangered species, the Osa Peninsula is a trip into the world of exotic animals. Crocodiles can be found throughout the rivers and estuaries along with many colorful frogs, and along the beaches are protected areas for the sea turtle. There are ecotours that can take you to different spots in the peninsula where you will spot many of nature’s wonders.
While the mystical mangroves serve primarily as nurseries for young fish, there are a few crocodiles trolling around. For the most part, these ancient prehistoric reptiles keep to themselves moving at a slow and steady pace. But spotting a crocodile for the first time up close can be a shocking experience for even the most steady person. After all, crocodiles are scary man eating reptiles, right? Not really, while they have been known to attack humans when provoked, they are more likely to run the other way when approached by a human. They tend to eat small fish, birds, and insects sticking with creatures much smaller than them. Only about 1% of newborn crocodiles survive to adulthood since they are prey for fish and mammals.
Crocodiles are actually more closely related to birds and dinosaurs than other reptiles, which may come as a shock to most people. The first crocodile appeared 240 million years ago and can live up to 80 years. Who would think that these big intimating creatures could be related to a delicate bird. While there is a huge effort to save the crocodiles’ cousin, the sea turtle, crocodiles have been neglected by the public and yet, these reptiles are also threatened by climate change.
The most common crocodile in Costa Rica is the critically endangered American Crocodile. Very few of these crocodiles are found in the USA, they are primarily in Mexico and Central America. But as their natural habitats shrink due to development, they are making their presence known on Florida golf courses to the dismay of many people. But for the most part when traveling in Costa Rica these creatures are benign and the fun is in the gawking at having spotted one while on an ecotour or fishing trip in the Osa Peninsula’s mangroves. Crocodile Bay organizes ecotours as well as fishing trips to the mangroves, which are led by highly experienced and knowledgeable guides.
UN environmental experts warn that the world has as little as a decade to fend off species extinction that also poses a threat to humanity. They are calling for huge new nature reserves to serve species. This threat includes many of the creatures found in the Osa Peninsula. So when traveling in Costa Rica and taking in the incredible wildlife remember that you are spotting a rare creature that is probably still around because of Costa Rica’s strong commitment to biodiversity and protected lands. Enjoy the adventure.