Below you can find a complete list of Costa Rican animals. We currently track 287 animals in Costa Rica and are adding more every day!
The list of animals in Costa Rica is long. Go to almost any zoo globally, and you will see Costa Rican animals because many of them are very unusual. According to Costa Rica’s National Biodiversity Institute, there are over 894 bird species, with over 600 of them living in the country all the time.
Additionally, there are over 250 mammals, 225 reptiles, 171 amphibians, 8,000 moths, and 1,251 butterfly species. Learning about animals native to Costa Rica, especially colorful Costa Rican animals, can be great fun when you go on an eco-tourism tour.
The Official National Animal of Costa Rica
The official animal of Costa Rica is the white-tail deer. Officials chose this animal because of its characteristics that symbolize Costa Ricans. Its tenderness, strength, peace, energy, fertility, and prosperity are reasons lawmakers chose this species.
White-tail deer mainly live on the savannahs located inside national parks in the country’s southern part. Bucks usually only grow to be about four feet tall and weigh about 150 pounds. While you are more likely to see white-tail deer in the country’s southern part, they usually grow bigger in the country’s northern regions. Regardless of location, if they sense danger approaching, they will flip their tails, pant, and stomp their hooves. They may also flash their white underside to get the attention of other nearby deer. While you will see Costa Rican animals of many different colors, it is not that way with deer as they only see in black and white.
Where To Find The Top Wildlife in Costa Rica
One of the top places to see wild animals in Costa Rica is the Osa Peninsula. This area in the country’s southwestern part offers prime viewing of animals in Costa Rica at Corcovado National Park, where over 463 bird species and 140 mammal species live. You may see monkeys, tapirs, sloths, jaguarundis, pumas, ocelots, and jaguars.
Next to Corcovado National Park is Golfito National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge is a terrific place to go birdwatching as it is home to over 200 bird species, including parrots, macaws, herons, and owls. This location is also a fantastic place to see spider and howler monkeys along with anteaters.
These two bordering locations are close to Golfo Dulce. Traveling to the other side will bring you to Piedras Blancas National Park, where over 96 mammal species live, including jaguars, pumas, coatimundi, skunks, sloths, monkeys, rodents, and bats. This park is home to jaguars, ocelots, pumas, jaguarundi, margays, although they can be hard to see because most of them are nocturnal.
There are also many other wonderful places to see animals native to Costa Rica like:
- Marino Ballena National Park – This park on Costa Rica’s coast is a fantastic place to see monkeys, iguanas, sea turtles, and whales.
- Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve – This park on the Continental Divide is home to the two-toed sloth and is a fantastic place to see quetzals and hummingbirds.
- Manuel Antonio National Park – This national park on the Central Pacific Coast is home to over 105 mammal species, including howler, squirrel, spider and white-faced monkeys, two-and-three-toed sloths, raccoons, coatis, pacas, anteaters, and ocelots.
- Tortuguero National Park – This park on the country’s northern coastline is home to over 60 species of mammals, including spider, capuchin and howler monkeys, jaguar, pumas, ocelots, sloths, river otters, and manatees. It is also home to over 111 species of reptiles and 57 species of amphibians.
The Most Dangerous Animals In Costa Rica Today
There are many dangerous amphibians in Costa Rica, like the coral snake, American crocodiles, and poison dart frogs. The Clodomiro Picado Institute estimates that there are two deadly snakes per hectare in the country. The most dangerous snake in Costa Rica is the fer-de-lance. While it is not the most venomous, its breeding patterns, aggressive attitude, and rapid venom production mean that this species is responsible for almost all the snake bites in Costa Rica.
Additionally, there are also dangerous animals in Costa Rica, like:
- Puma – One of the most dangerous is the puma. Over the last 100 years, puma attacks have killed at least 44 people.
- Bulls – Rodeoing is very popular in Costa Rica. Annually, bulls kill riders and bullfighters.
- Jaguars – The second largest cat in Costa Rica is also one of the most dangerous animals in costa Rica. Most people who jaguars kill are encroaching on their territory.
Endangered Animals In Costa Rica
Unfortunately, there are more than 200 endangered animals in Costa Rica. Several different factors contribute to causing extinct animals in costa Rica, including deforestation, human development, unsustainable fishing and hunting practices, poaching, and illegal pet trade.
Some of these threatened or extinct animals in Costa Rica include:
- Central American squirrel monkey – Standing less than 11 inches tall, these russet-brown monkeys usually live in groups of up to 70 individuals. Look for them in the Manuel Antonio National Park.
- Baird’s tapir – These pig-like animals look like they have the beginnings of an elephant’s trunk for a nose. They are nocturnal and stand about 6 feet tall. A slow birth rate and habitat loss have left them endangered, but visitors may catch a rare sighting at Corcovado National Park.
- Jaguar – The fact that locals believe that jaguars kill more livestock and humans than they do has led to this cat with its spotted coat being overhunted. It can be challenging to spot this nocturnal animal that lives in Costa Rica’s rainforests.
- Geoffroy’s spider monkey – Hunting, deforestation, and the illegal exotic pet trade threaten the very social Geoffroy’s, but you may still be able to see this monkey that often stands up about 18-inches tall at the Santa Rosa National Park and the Corcovado National Park.
- Jaguarundi – This cat, which is the smallest of Costa Rica’s cat family, is the only one to be more active during the day than at night. Deforestation and habitat loss threaten this extremely territorial animal, but visitors may still catch a sighting at the Palo Verde National Park.
Where to See Animals in Costa Rica?
There are many terrific places to see animals in Costa Rica Including:
There are many different types of animals that live in Costa Rica. Learn more about them today by participating in an eco-tourism vacation and enjoy seeing the colorful Costa Rican animals.
Costa Rican Animals
Their nests are sloppily held together and have an abandoned appearance
Stunningly beautiful wings
The agouti is one of the only animals that can crack open Brazil nut pods!
These parrots can be trained to be "talking birds" that mimic human speech
Don't eat raw eel! Their blood is poisonous to humans when consumed raw.
Their name means snake bird
There are just under 400 species, several of which change color.
First evolved 100 million years ago!
Has the longest tongue of any animal in relation to its body size!
Can curl into a hard, protective ball!
They are so named because they "march" in armies of worms from one crop to another in search of food
Asian lady beetles infest indoor spaces, but they do not reproduce indoors.
Found everywhere around the world!
Older offspring help care for new hatchlings.
Detects prey using echolocation!
There are 8 different species!
Bed bugs feed for 4-12 minutes.
Rock paintings of bees date back 15,000 years
There are more than 350,000 different species
Not all birds are able to fly!
The biscuit beetle form a symbiotic relationship with yeast
They typically prey on insects!
They are the only songbird in North America with an orange throat!
The blind snake is often mistaken for a worm.
Blue grosbeak parents take off the head, legs and wings of an insect before feeding it to their baby.
They travel and forage in pairs or groups
One of the most colorful members of the genus Acanthurus
Seabirds found across the South Pacific!
Can live its entire life indoors
The burrowing owl lives in underground burrows
Bush dogs have webbed toes to help them swim.
The bushmaster’s scientific name means “silent death.”
There are thought to be up 17,500 species!
Some species' babies use their hooked or scraper-like teeth to peel off and eat their mother's skin
Can grow to up 6 meters long!
The camel crickets that are found in the USA are light brown in color. They also have dark streaks all over their body.
Carpenter ants can lift up to seven times their own weight with their teeth!
May have been domesticated up to 10,000 years ago.
The larvae of a moth or butterfly!
There are nearly 3,000 different species!
Their feathers have red, waxy tips that can be hard to identify unless you’re up close.
There are about 3,000 documented species!
It has the ability to expel a stinky liquid from its body as a way to make predators (and humans) retreat!
They inhabit regrowing forests
First domesticated more than 10,000 years ago!
There are more than 2 000 known species!
Found in dense forests and wet jungles!
Dated to be around 300 million years old!
The largest terrestrial arthropod in the world
Pupae are able to undergo diapause to survive poor fruit yield years and winter.
Form bands of up to 12 individuals!
The common furniture beetle feeds exclusively on wood
House spiders have the ability to eat most insects in a home.
The Common Yellowthroat stays close to the ground and uses stealth to survive!
There are over 80 species of coral snake worldwide.
They can fly 35 mph and dive 150 feet below water.
There are nearly 1.5 billion worldwide!
There are 93 different crab groups
Crab Spiders can mimic ants or bird droppings
Male crickets can produce sounds by rubbing their wings together
Have changed little in 200 million years!
Crocodylomorphs include extinct ancient species as well as 26 living species today.
A group of these birds is called a Murder.
They have a unique call that they are named for.
First domesticated in South-East Asia!
Dog ticks feed on dogs and other mammals
First domesticated 5,000 years ago!
It's larvae are carnivorous!
The most popular species of feeder roach
Rows of tiny plates line their teeth!
The dung beetle can push objects many times its own weight
The Dusky Shark sometimes eats trash discarded by humans.
Some species can change color from dark to light, and back again.
They are hermaphrodites, which means they have male and female organs
There are nearly 2,000 different species!
They can live up to 9 years.
Eels can be a mere few inches long to 13 feet!
Have a lifespan of 20 years or more
While the eyelash viper can be a pet, be cautious – they are extremely venomous!
The fastest creatures on the planet!
False spiders actually prey on black widow spiders and other hazardous spiders
The fiddler crab gets its name from the motion the males make with their over-sized claw during the mating ritual.
The firefly produces some of the most efficient light in the world
Adult fleas can jump up to 7 inches in the air
There are more than 240,000 different species!
Can glide up to 90 meters!
There are around 7,000 different species!
Fruit flies are among the most common research animals in the world
They build a ramp from their nest, which leads to a nearby water source
Can grow to more than 3m long!
Female garter snakes give birth to live young rather than laying eggs!
There are thought to be over 2,000 species!
The most common type of urban roach
When giant leopard moths mate, their mating sessions last over 24 hours.
You can see their internal organs.
Found inhabiting dense woodland and caves!
Males form large mating swarms at dusk
There are 11,000 known species!
Their songs have cat-like qualities and can mimic other birds and animals, like tree frogs.
The gray fox has retractable claws and a rotating wrist that allow it to climb trees with some proficiency
Their wingspan is larger than an eagle’s; both males and females help hatch the eggs; rich in symbolism
This species makes use of some truly unusual nesting material, including snakeskin and garbage
At night, they make a terrifying low call that sounds like a distressed moan or growl.
Also known as the Millionfish!
They are natural pest controls
Able to run as quickly backwards as forwards!
Can reach speeds of over 50 mph!
Talon's the size of a grizzly bear's claws!
Their vision is eight times better than a human's
Many hawk moth caterpillars eat toxins from plants, but don’t sequester them the way milkweed butterflies do. Most toxins are excreted.
Parents and their young sing sweetly to each other
This dynastine scarab beetle makes a weird huffing sound when it’s disturbed.
Inhabits wetlands around the world!
They are loud, spirited birds with raucous cries that sound like bursts of laughter.
There are only 8 recognized species!
Has evolved over 50 million years!
Horseflies have been seen performing Immelmann turns, much like fighter jets.
The wren’s epithet, aedon, comes from a Greek queen who accidentally killed her only son. She was actually aiming for her nephew, and Zeus took pity on her and turned her into a nightingale.
Spends 80% of it's time resting!
Thought to have orignated 200,000 years ago!
Beat their wings up to 80 times per second!
Some huntsman spiders have an interesting way of moving around. Some cartwheel while others do handsprings or backflips.
Found in swamps, marshes and wetlands!
Uses visual signals to communicate!
There are an estimated 30 million species!
They form lifelong pair bonds and live in groups near water sources.
The jacana has the ability to swim underwater
One of the biggest species in the Caranx genus
The largest feline on the American continent!
Some can jump 50 times the length of their bodies
It's beak can reach nearly 20 cm long!
The Kentucky Warbler appears to wear bright yellow cat-eye glasses!
Inhabits wetlands and woodlands worldwide!
The kinkajou is a nimble forest-dwelling mammal of Central and South America.
There are more than 5,000 species worldwide!
They can jump up to three feet
Young lesser scaups learn to dive as soon as their down dries.
There are around 5,000 different species!
Each locust can eat its weight in plants each day.
Only females have the ‘lone star’ marking
The largest species of parrot in the world!
The complicated story of how MacGillivray’s Warblers got their name involves three ornithologists, a physician and a compromise.
Will only live in wet areas
They line their nests with fungi strands
It's called the rabbit of the ocean because it multiplies so quickly.
Margays are one of the world’s most highly adapted cat species for climbing trees!
Produces a toxin used in arrow darts!
There are 2,500 known species worldwide!
They have a symbiotic relationship with ants.
Some colonies have millions of bats
Some species have a poisonous bite!
Mockingbirds are incredible mimics that can learn hundreds of songs!
Primarily hunts and feeds on Earthworms!
Adult Mole crickets may fly as far as 5 miles during mating season and are active most of the year.
Known for their calm and peaceful nature!
During migration, Monarch Butterflies may travel 250 or more miles each day.
Has characteristics of two or more breeds!
There are around 260 known species!
Moonglow boas are the result of mixing three genetic traits.
Feeds on aquatic insects and water-spiders!
Collectors prize them for their bright wings
Only the female mosquito actually sucks blood
There are 250,000 different species!
Has no real natural predators!
It is almost always the male who makes the famous sad sound, which is a wooing call
The Mourning Warbler was named for its gray head, which resembles a mourning veil!
Found on every continent on Earth!
The offspring of a horse and donkey parents!
Unlike most duck species, the Muscovy is silent and only makes noise when excited or threatened.
Nematodes range in size from 1/10 of an inch to 28 feet long
There are more than 5,000 species.
They can reach speeds of 25 Mph but prefer to soar low and slow.
Northern pintails migrate at night with speeds reaching 48 miles per hour!
You can find them near golf courses in urban areas
Also known as the Painted Leopard!
Often mistaken for the Tennessee Warblers, which are equally dull.
Females are about four times the size of males
They reuse nesting sites for 70 years!
There are 13 different species worldwide
The owl can rotate its head some 270 degrees
Owl butterflies derive their name from big spots on each hindwing that resemble owl eyes
They are one of the most colorful species of birds.
Prefers to hunt at night than during the day!
Can live for up to 100 years!
Females lay between 8 and 12 eggs per clutch!
They can find their way back to their nests from up to 1300 miles away.
Pit vipers's fangs fold up into their mouths when they don't need them.
Inhabits the jungles of Central and South America!
There are 30 different species worldwide!
The mantis can turn its head 180 degrees.
Has longer back legs than front legs!
Inhabits woodland and forest areas worldwide!
The tail feathers of the male can be 1m long!
Known to wash their food before eating it!
The rainbow boa is named for its iridescent skin that refracts light and creates a rainbow-colored effect.
Omnivores that eat anything!
Rat snakes are constrictors from the Colubridae family of snakes.
Rattlesnakes may have evolved their rattle to warn bison away from them.
Ribbon snakes love water, but are excellent climbers too.
Inhabits freshwater habitats around the world!
There are more than 45 species in Australia alone!
The capybara, the world’s largest rodent, likes to be in and around bodies of water. Because of this, the Catholic Church in South America decided that it was a fish, and people were allowed to eat it during Lent and First Fridays.
Will mate with the entire flock!
This bird is also called cut-throat because the male looks like his throat has been cut and has bled over his breast.
The only Spoonbill in the western hemisphere!
Ruddy duck breeding males have bright blue bills!
Canines up to 7 inches long!
Ferrets were used during the Revolutionary War to keep down the rat population.
There are more than 700 different species!
The sand crab burrows beneath the sand with its tail
They raise their crests to ward off predators
Like many parrots, the scarlet macaw is capable of vocal mimicry.
Scissor-tailed flycatchers are known for their dramatically long tails!
There are around 2,000 known species!
The sea eagle tends to mate for life with a single partner
Males give birth to up to 1,000 offspring!
In captivity, sharp-shinned hawks can live up to 13 years. However, in the wild, this number is significantly reduced to 3 years!
Around 35 million in the English countryside!
The short-eared owl is one of the most widespread owl species in the world, covering five continents.
The spinal column of the shrew Scutisorex somereni is so strong and reinforced that it can support the weight of an adult human.
There are 2,000 different species worldwide!
Some skinks lay eggs in some habitats while giving birth to skinklets in other habitats.
It's body temperature is between 30 - 34 degrees!
They glide around on one foot, which is aided by the slime they produce
Has up to 45 eggs per egg case
There are nearly 1,000 different species!
There are around 4,000 known species worldwide
Snowflake Eel have two jaws to help them swallow their food.
There are 140 different species!
They prey on spiders to feed their larvae or they parasitize other spider wasps.
Small rodents found in woodlands worldwide!
Lives in groups of up to 500 individuals!
There are more than 3,000 different species!
They can’t sing like other birds.
Their wings form a “V” shape when flying.
Populations have been affected by pollution!
Tarantula hawks are excellent pollinators, especially for milkweed.
Their mounds can be up to 9 meters tall!
The American robin is called the robin because its red breast reminded European settlers of the robin back in the old country.
They inject hosts with a chemical that stops them from feeling the pain of the bite
The adult tiger beetle is one of the fastest land insects in the world
Can live until they are more than 150 years old!
There are more than 40 different species!
They make music with their wings
Found in warmer jungles and forests!
The tree swallow can make more than a dozen distinct vocalizations
Some species of aquatic turtles can get up to 70 percent of their oxygen through their butt.
Migrates up and down the mountains!
They make jerky movements as they walk through the grass, searching for food.
Have a heat sensor on the end of their nose!
The veery is named for its sharp "veer" call.
A slender body and elongated snout give the vine snake a regal look.
Vinegaroons can spray 19 times before the glands are depleted
There are 30 different species worldwide!
There are around 75,000 recognised species!
They are typically noisy birds but take on a soft tone with their young.
Western kingbirds have hidden red crown feathers that they can raise when threatened!
They migrate farther north than any other tanager.
One of the world's most intelligent monkeys!
There are two different types of white ferrets!
White-tail deer are good swimmers
Although deer are herbivores, they will sometimes eat mice and birds when they can catch them.
These birds live in the understory and are named for their propensity for flitting between willows and shrubs.
Carnivorous arachnid that hunts its prey.
Temperature determines the sex of turtle eggs
This animal can roll up into a ball
There are 200 different species!
The males are responsible for choosing the nesting tree most of the time. Luckily, cavity nests are often reused for multiple breeding seasons (up to 7 years.)
Gives birth to live young.
They swallow soft fruit whole
They forage near the ground, searching leaves for insects
They can stay hidden in their burrows for months!
Costa Rican Animals List