There was a lot of cool stuff to see in Monteverde. Our first night there, we went to a place called Ranario, and "Rana" in Spanish means frog. They had a lot of different species of frogs that are found in Costa Rica. My favorite ones are the red-eyed tree frog, the green and black poison arrow frog and the glass frog. You can actually see through the glass frog and check out it's insides.
Early the next morning we went on a hike through the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. After about five minutes of walking, we were very excited to find a Coati, which is like a tree climbing dog. One thing Monteverde is really famous for is a bird called the Resplendent Quetzal that is every birders dream to see, but not many people find them. We were really lucky to see one and thank goodness our guide had a telescope with him because we all got a great view of it. My dad's the one who is most interested in birds, but we were all really excited to see this bird because it's so cool looking with it's long tail feathers (that our guide told us are actually part of the bird's back, not the tail). And I really love the picture I got of it through the guide's scope ...
Monteverde had a lot of places that focused on a specific type of animal that is found in the cloud forest. One was called the Bat Jungle. Since Stefan and I think bats are pretty cool, we checked it out. They're trying to educate people about how important bats are to the ecosystem, so here are some amazing facts that we learned while there:
- A single brown bat can eat more than 1,000 mosquito-sized insects a night. So, if we don't want lots of pesky mosquitoes around, having bats is really important.
- Bats are responsible for pollinating a lot of flowers in the rainforest and dispersing seeds for many of the trees and shrubs ... the rainforest really needs bats!
- Bats are not blind (they have great night vision in fact), so they don't get caught in people's hair and they seldom transmit disease to other animals or humans ... we really don't need to be scared of bats.
are more than 1,100 species of bats (about ¼ of all mammals) ... but
over 50% of American bat species are endangered or have declining
The last thing we did before leaving Monteverde was visit a butterfly garden. It was a really interesting place because they also had all kinds of insects there that they told us all about. There was a scorpion with babies on it's back, amazing looking stick bugs that looked just like tree branches, and lots of butterfly pupas. There were a bunch of blue morpho butterflies that had just come out of their cocoons and they had us release them into the butterfly garden. They also had a huge exhibit of a leaf-cutter ant colony, which is pretty incredible. The ants don't collect the leaves to eat, they actually chew them up and spit them out so that they grow into a fungus, which they then eat. We learned all kinds of cool stuff about insects, plants and animals while we were here.
'Till the next blog. Bye for now!