10 DEADLIEST ANIMALS IN COSTA RICA
Updated: Sep 20
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I hope everyone enjoyed the last piece about the sloths. They are truly hilarious. Anyone can take a look at my blog and see that I’m an animal lover. I’ve owned four dogs and three cats. I probably prefer animals to people. When I booked my flight to Costa Rica, I dreamed of seeing a jaguar. That didn’t happen unfortunately; the best place to see jaguars is North Pantanal, Brazil.
Twenty-five percent of Costa Rica though, is made up of protected nature. It’s one of the most bio-diverse countries in the world. The fantastical beauty offers over 500,000 different types of animals and plants. Accordingly, some of the animals that live in Costa Rica can only be described as dangerous or deadly. Get ready to meet snakes, frogs, and spiders that will make your skin crawl. Here are ten of the most savage predators in Costa Rica.
Known as terciopelo (“velvet” in Spanish) in Costa Rica, the Fer-de-Lance viper is a pit viper which lives in the lowlands, often near human habitation. They are EXTREMELY venomous and the bite causes necrosis of any limb they manage to inject with venom. A producer who was scouting in Costa Rica for the show Naked and Afraid was bit in the foot by a Fer-de-Lance and experienced debilitating pain and multiple surgeries. If you a see brown or gray colored snake with diamonds, avoid at all costs…
Eye Lash Viper
Which brings us to the Eye-Lash Viper. Another member of the viper family, this snake has a diamond shaped head and varies in color from yellow, green, red, and brown. This pit viper is found in Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela. It is capable of releasing a hemotoxic venom which is also neurotoxic. It is fatal to humans as it affects the cardiovascular system and the central nervous system.
That’s right, another snake. Coral snakes are extremely reclusive but they possess one of the most potent venoms in North and Central America. When bitten, the neurotoxin will paralyze the respiratory system.
The jaguar is the largest cat in the Americas and the third largest cat in the world behind the tiger and the lion. These hunters are heavily muscled and the biggest males can weigh near 350 pounds. They are very anti-social and it is difficult for humans to even come in contact with them, as they will typically run off before you see them. The bite force of a jaguar is listed as the third most powerful felid, but when adjusted for size, is the most powerful.
Brazilian Wandering Spider
Also known as the banana spider, it is acknowledged as the world’s most toxic spider. A bite from it releases a neurotoxin which causes a loss of muscle control. Without aid, the bite will progress to paralysis and asphyxiation. Shake out your boots if you are staying in the jungle or on a banana plantation.
Costa Rica has the third highest number of attacks and kills by the American Crocodile in the Western Hemisphere. It is exceeded only by the United States and Brazil, both of which have far larger populations. The growth of tourism is causing humans to come into greater contact with crocodiles in Costa Rica. Five people have been killed since 2013.
Poison Dart Frog
These frogs are native to Central and South America and are distinguishable with their brightly colored bodies. Poison dart frogs were long used by the Emera tribe of Colombia to tip their arrows and blowgun darts (hence their name) with a written account dating back to 1825. The golden poison dart frog has enough poison to kill 10 men. The poison is called batrachotoxin, it causes paralysis and death when it enters the bloodstream. The moral of this story is avoid brightly colored frogs, no matter how beautiful they are.
Costa Rica is replete with schools of Bull Sharks; they tend to stay in shallow water unlike most other sharks, which makes them more dangerous. They have robust bodies, are territorial, and tend to be aggressive. Bull sharks also prefer coastal waters and rivermouths; along with great white sharks and tiger sharks, they are one of the three sharks most likely to bite humans.
Bullet ants are long recognized as having one of the most painful stings of any creature in the world. Many people say it is worse than being shot, which is where the name comes from. The cause of such intense pain, cold sweats, and nausea is a protein called poneratoxin. They are quite common in Costa Rica. The sting is the highest on Schmidt’s pain index at a 4.0+.
The bite of a centipede is directly related to the size of the centipede doing the biting. It is actually not a bite though; the centipede uses a front pair of legs called forcipules to inject venom. Some of the symptoms caused are severe pain, necrosis, headaches, nausea, and swelling. Larger centipedes can cause death, so if you believe you’ve been bitten, seek help immediately.