Animals in Costa Rica
Costa Rica is home to 210 species of mammals, more than half of which are bats. Around 110 different species of Bats live in Costa Rica.
In relation to only 52,000 square kilometers of land, Costa Rica has hence one of the greatest diversities of bats in the world.
Bats play a very important role for the nature as they disperse seeds and pollen. Many native plants in Costa Rica depend completely on bats as their only pollinators.
During the day, the lunarphobic animals slumber in hollow trees, under palm leaves, branches or roofs. Soon after sunset the bats start swooping around trees and homes catching huge quantities of mosquitoes and other insects, or feed on fruits and nectar.
Bats orient themselves in the darkness through echoes sounding back from their ultrasonic cries which a human ear can't hear. Their ears and noses are pure high-tech design though they look a bit weird to us humans.
All three species of vampire bats are found in Costa Rica. The most common one is the Desmodus rotundus type. Unlike other bats, vampires can crawl and hop on the ground. Their favorite prey consists of cattle and they dont suck but lick the blood from the wound they cut with their razor-sharp incisors. The process itself doesn't much harm the cattle. There is however the danger of rabies, which kill the prey (but not the bat).
There are even two white bat species in Costa Rica: the cute tiny Honduran White Bat who lives in the Caribbean lowlands, and the much larger and rare Ghost Bat. (I found this one in the Karen Mogensen Reserve)
On the Nicoya Peninsula international bat scientists study these fascinating animals in the Barra Honda National Park. One of the caves there - Pozo Hedondo (Stinking Cave) - houses a colony of 5000 individuals. At dawn the flying mammals start trickling out of their cave until a cloud of bats fills the nightly sky to hunt insects or feed on fruits and flowers.