live blog: into the not so wild

pizote group 1

One of the fun things about traveling in another climate is the variety of common yet quirky animals that enhance your visit on a daily basis. (Just think of all those tourists to New York taking pictures of the squirrels in Central Park)  Possibly my favorite of the semi-domesticated creatures found roaming around my hotel in Costa Rica is the pizote.

pizote solo 1A relative of the raccoon – and a heck of a lot cuter – the pizote is an omnivore and a scavenger; which means an ill-placed room service tray sends them scurrying down from the trees and out of the bushes in search of food.  This guy stayed behind after his buddies picked apart a handful of orange marmalade containers.

iguana treeOf course iguanas are familiar to anyone who’s visited the Caribbean, Central and South America, or the local pet store for that matter.  But that doesn’t stop me from being transfixed by them.  I mean, how many relics from the Pleistocene do you get to see hanging out in a tree on a daily basis?

furry spider with distinctive white pouchDoes anything top a juicy looking spider for raising the hair on your arms?  OK, maybe a snake – but then I’d never try and take a close-up of a snake.  This arachnid was the size of an tangerine and it’s banded legs were covered in fur.  The surprise however was its white back, which looked partially deflated, as though it was a recently emptied egg sac.

Blue legged grasshopperI really wish this photo better:  a common grasshopper elevated to a bejeweled work of art by the addition of an iridescent green body and shimmering electric blue legs.

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