Animals in Costa Rica, Nicoya Peninsula
Cane Toad / Marine Toad
The Cane Toad is very common in Costa Rica. The nocturnal amphib is the world's largest toad and can grow up to 25 cm and weigh more than a kilo.
The skin of this toad is toxic to many animals, it can kill a dog and even a human. If threatened, it produces poison to humid its body and it can even shoot its toxin at a distance. Additionally it can inflate its body to appear larger to a predator.
The cane toad is a prolific breeder. A female lays 8,000–25,000 eggs at once in a string that can stretch up to 20 meters. Even the eggs and tadpoles of these toads are toxic to many animals.
The giant toad is native to South and Central America but has been introduced in many other parts of the world to combat pests like the cane beetle. It has however become a pest in many of its new homes.
In Costa Rica the cane toad can be helpful to reduce insect populations. The opportunistic animal has well adapted to human homes and with its immense appetite devors all kind of bugs, as itchy, toxic, biting it may be.
Red-eyed Tree Frog
One of Costa Rica's most emblematic animals is the colorful Red-eyed Tree Frog (Agalychnis callidryas). It inhabits the canopy of areas near rivers and ponds in the rainforests. Only during mating season, at the begin of rain season, the frogs come down to the ground. Red-eyed tree frogs are nocturnal and well camouflaged. They mostly sit motionless on a leave and hide their colorful bellies and legs. All you can see of them is a green dot on a green leave. Once awake it displays it gaudy colors, a vibrant green body with orange or blue, vertically striped sides, orange feet and red eyes with vertical pupils.
Red-eyed tree frogs eggs lay their eggs under leaves that loom over the edge of a pond. When the eggs hatch, the tadpoles fall directly into the water. Normally, an egg hatches a week after it is laid. There are however some species of snakes and wasps who like to dine on the jelly-like eggs. To dodge their predators the tadpoles then take the decision to hatch prematurely and escape into the water.