Tag Archives: Costa Rica

This Animal Isn’t A Snake. Think You Can Guess What It Really Is? (Photos)

Professor Daniel Janzen, a biology professor from the University of Pennsylvania, has spent years of his life cataloguing and photographing a very unique group of creatures: caterpillars that defend themselves against predators by looking and acting like snakes.

Check out some more pictures of “Snake Caterpillars” taken by Professor Janzen below:

Snake caterpillars can be found in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Belize, and some parts of Mexico. Their markings resemble a snake’s head, which they can actually use to “strike” at would be predators (though they obviously can’t bite like a real snake would).

Janzen is an ecologist and what most would call a caterpillar expert. He’s been tracking these insects in Costa Rica since 1978 and  has been an expert in the field of entomology (the study of insects) for 50 years.

Dan Janzen, with a prehensile-tailed porcupine on his shoulder (Photo: Winnie Hallwachs / NOVA)

He splits his time between his labs and the field, spending half the year at the University and the other half in Central America, searching for strange new species of insect like the snake caterpillars.

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Meet The Man Whose Best Friend Is A Crocodile (Video)

Gilberto “Chito” Shedden is from the small fishing town of Siquirres in Costa Rica. Ever since he was a child, Chito was fascinated with the animals that everyone else avoided- namely crocs. Chito, a fisherman and tour guide, always took every opportunity to interact with the beasts.

“We’d be out there sometimes in a boat, so I’d get close to them, perhaps give them a piece of chicken so I could get close and touch them. I was always very careful with them. I respect animals and always maintained some order to not have problems. If a croc was upset, I couldn’t get close. I tried to show them that we are friends and not bother them so they never try to bite me.”

Chito and Pocho

One day, Chito discovered a croc who had been shot in the eye by one of the local farmers and decided it was his duty to save it. Despite the misgivings of friends and family, Chito took the three meter long reptile back to his home.

Chito would let the croc, who he named Pocho, hang out on the banks of a nearby lake during the day, and would visit to feed and comfort him during the evenings.

“At first he wouldn’t eat it, but then he began to eat. I kept feeding him chicken until he started looking good. I would try to pet him so he would feel that I cared about him. When I would touch him, he would sometimes get a little irritated, so I kept on caressing and caressing him. And I would say, relax, relax. I want to be your friend. Behave nicely ’cause you won’t be bothered anymore…I would touch, at first, his tail, then the belly, till finally I touched his head. When I touched the head, that’s when we had finally become friends.”

Learn more about the story from an interview Chito did with NPR here.

Meet OutRunner: The World’s Fastest Legged Robot (Video)

Colton and Sebastian from Robotics Unlimited claimed to have created, “the most advanced running robot in the world”.

The robot known as OutRunner is not just fast, it is the world’s fastest legged robot. OutRunner reaches tops speeds of up to 45 mph on a treadmill and 25 mph in outdoor testing.

Check Out the video below to see this robot in action…

Cleverly created using “biologically inspired” function, the OutRunner affectively simulates running using animal biomechanics.

Its running motion is similar to that of the Costa Rican basilisk lizard, also known as the Jesus lizard because of its remarkable ability to run on water.

OutRunner is currently raising funds on kickstarter, where you can buy your very own and support the engineers and creators behind this legged masterpiece.

5 Beautiful Animals That Have Disappeared in the Last 25 Years

1. West African Black Rhinoceros 

Hunted for its horns, which are sold on the black market as aphrodisiacs in countries like China and Yemen, the last of these rhinos disappeared from Cameroon in west Africa in 2006.

2. Po’ouli

This bird, native to Maui island in Hawaii, inhabited the southwestern slope of the Haleakala volcano on the island. It wasn’t discovered until the 1970s, and immediately its numbers began to decline.

By 1997 there were only 3 left in the wild, and they were officially declared extinct in 2004.

2. Zanzibar Leopard 

The zanzibar leopard was a unique leopard species only found on the island of Zanzibar, an island off the coast of Tanzania in east Africa. As the island evolved during the 20th century, people began coming into contact with the leopards more and more.

Locals also believed that the leopards were kept by witches and actively sought to exterminate the cat. Conservation attempts in the 1990s were unsuccessful.

4. Pyrenean Ibex

This species of wild goat lived in the Iberian peninsula until being hunted to extinction in 2000. Skin samples from the last pyrenean ibex were used to clone one in 2009, but it died from lung complications shortly afterwards.

5. Golden Toad

This boldly colored toad was found high in the mountains of Costa Rica. Pollution, habitat loss, and a fungal virus all contribute to its extinction in 1989.

Hidden Cameras in the Jungle Capture Amazing Pictures of Animals and Poachers (Slideshow)

420 small cameras were recently hidden in  jungles around the world by a team led by Jorge Ahumada, technical director of the Tropical Ecology Assessment and Monitoring Network. Ahumada and his team set up the cameras in seven different wildlife preserves in Suriname, Costa Rica, Indonesia, Tanzania, Brazil, Uganda and Laos.

As most creatures in the jungle are nocturnal, the cameras were able to capture animals and behaviors rarely seen during the day; the cameras are heat sensitive, so they take pictures whenever a creature is nearby. Here are some of the awesome pictures of wildlife (and poachers) that have been captured so far.

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