I already have enough things to be afraid of on this earth, namely anything remotely related to a shark. I probably shouldn’t have come to Costa Rica to find more terrifying creatures. We began our day with a three mile hike along the hanging bridges, surrounded by lush rainforest and predators of the craziest kinds. Okay, so we didn’t encounter any leopards or pythons, but I did find several new critters to fear:
Leafcutter Ants – 98% of the leaf-cutter ants I’m not afraid of. They’re actually kind of cool: these blind bugs traipse through the rainforest carrying their prize (leaves at least ten times their size) and report back to their queen, who can reign for up to 15 years. Once a queen dies, the entire colony dies with her. It sounds like it could be a movie, then I remember that movie Antz that came out a few years ago. They really are fascinating, I took a video to show everyone how cool they are:
These little worker ants are not to be feared. They are on a mission and that mission is not to intentionally harm me. The soldier ants of this species, on the other hand, are terrifying. Hugo, our guide, picked up one of these ants – which was quadruple the size of the others in the colony – and showed off his jaws. Hugo held a stick up and the ant latched on for dear life – the ant was literally holding the entire stick with its pincers:
Apparently, these ants will latch into flesh so tightly that some tribes once used them as stitches: let the ant bite, pinch off his body, and leave the head firmly attached until the wound heals. This is TERRIFYING to me. And also pretty disgusting.
Eyelash Viper – Named for the eyelash-like protrusions above its beady little eyes, this pit viper is a highly venomous tree-dweller, which means he likes to hide in trees and lunge on whatever the heck he feels like dropping on. This, too, is TERRIFYING to me.
Poison Dart Frogs – I actually don’t fear these, they’re pretty cool and incredibly smaller than I imagined. Just don’t eat them and you’ll be fine.
Tarantulas – I don’t care whether they’re lethal or not, tour guide, please stop trying to coerce that freaking spider out of the hole in the ground.
I’ve been informed that Manuel Antonio Park will have more mammals, which I’m thankful for. I just want to see a peaceful sloth who has no intention of killing me. In all seriousness, this tour was really cool. Great walk and amazing sites, especially from the hanging bridges. Here’s the morning in photos:
After lunch and a site inspection, we were right back at our adventurous day with a zipline and canopy tour. About a month ago I went on a zipline in Georgia (Banning Mills for anyone interested – it was awesome), but the views from a forest in Georgia have nothing on the views from a zipline in Costa Rica. It was absolutely beautiful swinging from platform to platform – and then, we reached the optional Tarzan Swing. Take special note that it was optional yet I still chose to do it, so I can be adventurous (I really do love a thrill like this), and here’s a video to prove it:
It. Was. AMAZING. I had such an adrenaline rush that I could have taken another 3 mile hike (now that I’m in my bed resting, I don’t know where that energy went…). I’m only in Costa Rica with an opportunity to do a Tarzan swing once in my life; I’m not going to pass that up. What a way to end the best day we’ve had so far in Costa Rica!