Life in the jungle is full of nature’s bliss. Monkey, pizotes (aka coatis), Motmots and armadillos are seen daily here. The flora and fauna is one of the main attractions to Costa Rica. While seeing a Blue Morpho or even a Kinkajou is an amazing experience… most people’s questions revolve around the less desired critters we share the jungle with.
Snakes: Yes, there are many snakes in Costa Rica ranging from boas, to rattlesnakes and even some vipers. The reality is that seeing them is pretty rare. Most snake sightings will happen on a road at night during rainy season when you can see a boa cruising across the road. Why do boas cross the road? To get to the other side… While stories of Fer-de-lances (Terciopelos) do exist in the more tropical regions of Costa Rica, they are not a concern in Nosara. Snakes don’t care much for people and usually stay out of our way. While you shouldn’t worry much about their existence, I wouldn’t go sticking my hand into dark holes in the ground or stomping through large brush piles. If you happen upon a snake and you need to have it removed, speak to Ryan Bombard, who is a Nosara Fireman and our local hero who will safely relocate the reptile for you.
Bugs: Insects are part of life in the jungle. You can always identify a ‘newby’ (new to Nosara) when they scream if a bug lands in their hair, while a veteran calmly removes the bug from their hair, inspects it, tosses it away while continuing a conversation as if a small leaf had landed on them. To my knowledge, no Nosara resident nor visitor has been killed by chicharas, moths nor giant grasshoppers, but they have caused some funny stories and maybe a few gray hairs. The worst month for bugs is usually May because it is the beginning of the rain season and many bugs hatch at that time. I would argue that insects (flies and mosquitoes) are far worse during a North American summer.
Army Ants: It is possible that at some point the army ants will visit your house. While it seems a bit crazy, the best advice is to leave the house for an hour or two. They will come in and clean the house for you removing spiders and crumbs along the way. They will leave on their own. If you try and sweep, spray or battle them… they will battle back. They do bite and it stings a bit. Take your family and your pet for some ice cream or to surf and they’ll be gone when you get back.
Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes can bring diseases like Dengue and as of this year, Zika. We are still trying to determine how prevalent Zika is in Costa Rica. At this time there is not enough data to know. There were two confirmed cases of Zika in the greater Nosara area. Dengue has been around for years and you certainly don’t want it. Be aware if you are outdoors, especially at dawn or dusk or in damp places. Use an approved bug spray, especially around your ankle area. Places with higher elevations (and breezes) tend to have fewer mosquitoes.
Scorpions: Scorpions are a bit of a nuisance too. They are fairly common, especially when the January-March winds pick up. Shake out your clothes if they’ve been on the floor and check your shoes before you put them on. I’ve always found a flip flop to be an excellent and efficient weapon when confronting a scorpion. If you get stung it’s not too bad and most people feel better within an hour or two, while some get a slight fever. Their stings are not as potent as the scorpions of the Southwest American dessert. The Nosara scorpions hurt similar to a bee sting.
Stingrays: Our beaches do have stingrays. While they’re not deadly, they hurt like a son-of-a-gun! Most people get stung while walking in shallow water. If you step on the ray, he will slash his tail and inject you with poison. The poison is painful. The best known remedy is putting the injured area (usually a foot) into hot water (NOT boiling!!! but as hot as you can stand). It slowly relieves the pain. Best advice… shuffle your feet when walking in shallow water. If you kick one they will take off… if you step on one, you’ll soon know it!
Tip: If you leave the lights on in your house and doors and un-screened windows open… you’ll get more insects in your house. I promise. So, either keep the lights low or the house shut after dark.