Howlers and sloths...
In Costa Rica, animals are everywhere and in their natural habitats. On a walk down to the beach, we saw howler monkeys.
Howlers are known for their screeching calls (heard up to two kilometers or about 1 1/4 miles away) and for throwing poop at competitors infringing on their territory. This includes people mimicking their calls (kind of makes you wonder how the scientists found this out).
I stood at the foot of a tree and looked up at baby howler monkeys trying to chase each other. "Trying" being the key word, as they slipped and tumbled constantly.
Sloths, on the other hand, rarely move. It's their way of protection, and they are also usually so high up in trees that even in zoos it's hard to find them. Yet, more than once, we saw sloths in the wild—one even moved!
...and a tarantula too!If you see these legs sticking out of your shoe...
You'd never guess what this girl who screams at non-biting daddy long-legs voluntarily got within inches of.
Yes, a tarantula. Two, in fact. If you don't believe me, look at the picture!
We were hiking with Francisco, our guide, who had just pointed out a hummingbird feeding two babies in their nest. Suddenly he stopped, bent down, and shined a flashlight down a hole with a clearly visible tarantula.
Francisco explained first in Spanish (la tarántula), then English. Through listening carefully in Spanish, I learned that tarántulas stay inside their chosen hole for the majority of their life, unless they get too big.My parents were fascinated by my detailed translation and that I could joke around with native speakers. ¡Espero que no haya otra tarántula! (I hope there isn't another tarantula!)
Leaving the breathtaking landscape, the incredibly nice people, and the fantastic wildlife was difficult. Before I could count to ocho días (eight days), I was back at school.Maybe I'll see you on my next adventure!
Having spent the previous week constantly speaking Spanish, I left behind my grammar worries and raised my hand more than I needed to in Spanish class. I really wasn't afraid.
I can't promise that I'll smile the next time I see a daddy long-legs, but I certainly won't scream. Some part of this adventure has worn off on me.
Mom, Dad, how about backpacking through Yellowstone this summer?
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