Animals of the Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica
No nut is too big for squirrels in Costa Rica - a coconut is just quite enough for a quick lunch.The Variegated Squirrel (Ardillo) is native to Central America and frequently seen on the Nicoya Peninsula, scurrying through trees, playing around, or excitedly defending its favourite tree against competitors.
The Agouti (Guatuso) looks like the bigger version of a guinea pig. It feeds on fruits and seeds which it stores in the ground, thus helping to disperse the seeds. When frightened, the agouti will erect his long hairs on his rump, thump his hind feet on the ground, or run away with high-pitched barks.
Though frequently seen in former times, agoutis are becoming rare nowadays. Wild running dogs kill agoutis, anteaters, coatis and other native wildlife. Dog owners should take care of their dogs and not let them hunt in the forest.
The Lowland Paca (Tepezcuintle) has white spots on its back and is much bigger than the aguti. The solitary animals live in forested areas near rivers. Its diet includes leaves, roots, seeds, and fruit, thus helping the eco system as a seed disperser. The paca is not seen as much as its smaller cousin, the aguti, as it only comes out at night. Its numbers have been much reduced because of hunting and habitat destruction.