Hiding in plain sight

The coolest activity to do – and not for the faint of heart – is a night tour with the Bug Lady in Drake Bay, Costa Rica with the sole purpose of seeing and learning about things that go creeping around in the dark. As soon as the Bug Lady mentioned she wanted to show us spiders, our grandson backed away.  Clearly, he wasn’t thrilled with that idea.  Could curiosity overcome fear?

We started the walk by putting on headlamps with a red-light mode, perfect for viewing nightlife.

The Bug Lady, Tracie Stites, and her husband, Gianfranco Gómez, gathered us around and introduced the tailless whip-scorpion.  Everyone wanted a photo.

Despite its name, this is not a scorpion and it’s not a spider, though it is an arachnid.  It’s a relative of the two called an Amblypigid.

This creature may be harmless to us but their size and the little pincer-like pedipalps on their front legs help them capture and hold on to their prey.

We spent a lot of time looking down.  A Gaudy leaf frog was memorable for its small size and bright red eyes.  We also saw a large Huntsman spider.  Their name is apt as they are fast hunters that don’t need to rely on spider webs to catch their prey.

A white-lined bat flew over-head and when we looked up to see it, we spotted a…

…brown-throated three-toed sloth.  It was resting, of course.  Sloths are only active a short period every day.

They’re pretty strange animals.  They can swivel their heads like an owl; take a month to digest a meal; slowly come down from their forest habitat only once a week, dangerously exposing themselves to their predators, for the purpose of defecating on the ground.

Of course, there’s always more to see in the rain forest.  On another day, we sat down outside our cottage at La Paloma for quite a while to observe leafcutter ants at work. They marched every day across our path.

Next to humans, leafcutter ants form the largest and most complex animal societies on Earth.”

Our favorite discovery was observing ants riding shotgun on top of a leaf as another ant hauled the load.  It’s speculated that the ant on top is providing protection from a parasitic fly trying to land to lay its eggs.

We love to observe birds but have been surprised how many people don’t “see” birds and in general, pay little attention to birds and the natural world around them.

Scarlet macaws would be hard to miss due to both their size and amazing colors.   Our grandson was delighted every time they came into view.

From the same place we viewed the macaw, we looked at the plants in front of us to spot the dragon (or was it a damsel?) fly.

Whether we were walking on a dirt path in the rainforest or a city street In San Jose, Costa Rica, we looked for the natural treasures hiding in plain sight.

While visiting the garden at the National Museum of Costa Rica in San Jose, we looked up at one of the most interesting flowers we’d ever seen.  Is it the flower of a banana tree?

We’re guessing curiosity and the amazing facts we learned about what we saw on our trip encouraged us to keep looking, observing, asking questions, and learning.  We’re happy to report that our grandson’s curiosity overcame his fear of looking at spiders and other creepy crawlies in the rain forest. We’re guessing he’ll not soon forget all the wonders in the darkness just awaiting his discovery.


March 2020

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
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6 Responses to Hiding in plain sight

  1. Love the post! The pics are wonderful – the sloth in particular. 🙂

  2. It is easy to miss things while on walks. What has surprised us on our current travels is how few people even bother to get out of their cars and walk other that on those paths with a well known photo opportunity. We mostly have the far more diverse and stunning walks to ourselves.

  3. I wouldn’t be keen on getting too close to spiders either. Occasionally we get a huntsman spider inside the house – they are always huge ones too. I’m not sure about that flower but the leaves aren’t banana leaves. They look like the leaves of what we call an umbrella tree.

  4. Amazing photos Beth. I’m guessing that everyone in the family loved this outing!

  5. Beautiful pictures. How do the sloth’s hands not fall asleep?! (Incidentally, I’m a lot like sloths in that I prefer ground defecation, too. 😉 )

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