Robert Lang, who’s documented his trip to Costa Rica, sends some photos of reptiles today. His notes are indented:
There were two types of turtle common on the Carrbbean canals: the Black River Turtle (Rhinoclemmys funerea), which is pretty generically turtle-looking:
. . . and what our guide called the “Sliding Turtle”, which has a striped neck and head like the North American Red-Eared Slider. Judging from guide’s name, appearance, and range, I’m guessing it’s the Meso-American Slider (Trachemys venusta).
One of the Black River Turtles made a nice perch for a juvenile Emerald Basilisk (Basiliscus plumifrons).
The juvenile basilisks look generically lizard-like, but the adult has dramatic sails along its back. [JAC: These are sometimes called “Jesus Christ lizards” because they can literally run across the surface of the water.]
We saw a few other interesting lizards: a Black Spiny Iguana (Ctenosaura similis) along a riverbank near the Pacific:
And Green Iguanas (Iguana iguana) near the Carribean. The greens are sexually dimorphic; the females are smaller and darker:
While the males are larger, lighter, and have larger spikes along their back.
On the smaller side, we spotted a Central American Whiptail Lizard (Ameiva festiva) in the leaf litter.
We saw only two snakes, both venomous: first, the Green Tree Viper (Bothriechis lateralis), in Monteverde cloud forest. Wait, why is it not green? It’s a juvenile. The juveniles are brown and marked, and have a distinctive greenish-yellow tail tip, which you can see here.
And a juvenile Eyelash Pit Viper (Bothriechis schlegelii) in the rain forest. Costa Rica has a lot of venomous animals, but they’re generally not aggressive; these just sat there while we shot. This one was teeny-tiny, just a few inches long, but I’m sure he would have been happy to sink his teeny-tiny fangs into a probing finger, so we still kept our distance.
There are also two types of crocodilians. We saw Spectacled Caimans (Caiman crocodilus) on the Caribbean side:
And the most intimidating, the American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus), which we saw in tidal rivers on the Pacific side.
Definitely a strong discouragement of unauthorized swimming!