Animals on the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
The Tree-toed Sloth spends its days clinging in the tree tops where it feeds on leaves. Each sloth feeds on a different mix of tree leaves: from their mother they inherit their family's own set of bacterias in their stomach who help them to digest their mix of leaves, which another sloth family can not digest.
One time per week a sloth will come down from his tree to defecate which refertilizes the tree on which the sloth feeds.
The sloth's fur is a biotop in itself where algae grow, along with insects like moths, beetles, mites and ticks. Up to 900 insects have been counted on a single sloth.
The largest mammal in Costa Rica is the endangered Tapir. The strange looking animal with its long, flexible snout
is a relative to horses and rhinoceroses. It feeds on leaves, twigs, fruits and seeds. The animals are excellent swimmers
and are usually found near water.
Tapirs are very important seed dispersers. In Costa Rica there are several native plants, whose seeds will only germinate after having passed the tapirs digestive tract.