Friday, 15 January 2016 11:05

Ten target animals for our upcoming Costa Rica Tour - No 4 - The Northern Tamandua

When I first stepped foot in Costa Rica, I had barely heard of these creatures, and didn't really know much about them at all. It was only when I watched 2 separate Tamanduas doing their thing for an hour, till I fully realised what a bizarre and intriguing animal it was. I wish I could have stayed with it all day as I was fascinated by it and its behaviour. The first thing that struck me was its speed, tenacity, and audacious care-free attitude. These are not typical traits that you associate with an anteater, which it is! Its appearance is rather comical, with his little black action-waistcoat and its unusually muscular build, they look like they mean business. They are also kitted out with the typical anteater snout and long sticky tail for gathering termites and other small insects and a prehensile tail that can grip branches, and acts a fifth leg and all round safety feature for its arboreal lifestyle.

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My first experience with one was captivating. I wasn't looking for it, it came to me, and I could hear him coming way before I could see him, as he clumsily snapped branches and tripped over things. He was not remotely bothered about predators or humans and showed no vigilance whatsoever, which made me wonder how many other animals bother trying to tackle a Tamandua. Anyway, he was on the hunt for insect nests and he turned over every leaf and branch in his path, frantically searching. He spotted a bees nest at the top of a thin tree and headed straight for it, no messing. When he got to it, he literally just smashed into it and exploded it, letting all the pieces fall to the floor. He then quickly fireman's poled it down to the floor to slurp up the contents of the nest. He wasn't too bothered by the bees swarming around his head, just occasionally batting them away. All in all, a fascinating and very funny experience, watching him carve out his living in this very demanding environment.

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Our main chance of seeing a Tamandua will be in Corcovado national park, one of the wildest areas that Costa Rica has to offer. They can be found in any forested habitat within its range and are actually quite common but Corcovado seems to hold a much more dense population making them much easier to see.

Anyway if this tickles your fancy then come with us. Keep track of the event page by clicking the link below, and if you are interested then please message me.

Check out this video to see one in action and listen to the sounds of the jungle:

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