Below you can find a complete list of Costa Rican animals. We currently track 126 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:
- Corcovado National Park
- Piedras Blancas National Park
- Marino Ballena National Park
- Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
- Manuel Antonio National Park
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
Costa Rican Animals List
- Barn Owl
- Black Widow Spider
- Caiman Lizard
- Collared Peccary
- Flying Squirrel
- Glass Frog
- Glow Worm
- Harpy Eagle
- Hercules Beetle
- Honduran White Bat
- Honey Bee
- Howler Monkey
- Keel-Billed Toucan
- Leopard Frog
- Marine Toad
- Mexican Free-Tailed Bat
- Monarch Butterfly
- Mountain Lion
- Mourning Dove
- Peregrine Falcon
- Poison Dart Frog
- River Turtle
- Roseate Spoonbill
- Saber-Toothed Tiger
- Scarlet Macaw
- Snapping Turtle
- Squirrel Monkey
- Stick Insect
- Tree Frog
- Vampire Bat
- White-Faced Capuchin
- Wolf Spider