Costa Rica Reptiles

Basiliscus basiliscus, the Jesus Christ Lizard, Costa Rica

Typical Costa Rica Reptiles: Basiliscus basiliscus, otherwise known as Common Basilisk or more curiously the Jesus Christ Lizard, found in a mangrove forest on the Pacific Coast. Photo by Solbaken

Commonly found Costa Rica reptiles

The Jesus Christ Lizard is known as such by its ability to run on water when threatened. The lizard is commonly found in the northwest Costa Rica, basking in the sunshine near water.
When surprised by a predator JCL escapes by racing to the nearest water and then onto it. Due to its speed of about 5 mph (8 kph) its large feet it can cross up to 10 metres (30 ft) of water before sinking. If the basilisk sinks, it swims underwater until it has escaped.

Mangroves are controversially but frequntly being destroyed in Costa Rica for tourist redevelopment or agricultural purposes in spite of the vital eco-systems they provide for many kinds of wildlife, particularly as breeding ground for marine life forms.

Brown basilisk, Osa peninsula, Costa Rica

An unholy cousin of the Basiliscus basiliscus, this is a Brown basilisk on the Osa peninsula. Photo by Benjamint444

Black Iguanas catching some rays in Barra, Honda NP, Costa Rica

Black Iguanas catching some rays in Barra, Honda NP. Photo by Christian Mehlfuhrer

the Many-Scaled Anole, also on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

And now for something completely different, the Many-Scaled Anole, also on the Osa Peninsula. Photo by Steven G

an Eyelash Viper in La Selva, Costa Rica

Nasty but nice-looking, an Eyelash Viper in La Selva. Photo by Rodrigo Fernandez

An American crocodile beside the Fortuna River, Costa Rica

An American crocodile beside the Fortuna River, rather meaner than the more prolific caiman. Photo by Charlesjsharp

An Hourglass Treefrog croaking for a mate, Costa Rica

An Hourglass Treefrog croaking for a mate. Photo by Geoff Gallice.

Elephant Beetle, Costa Rica

And finally quite a sizeable Elephant Beetle found in the Limon region. Photo by Lyn Gately

Turtles

Costa Rica has both Caribbean (212kms/131mls) and Pacific coasts(1016kms/630mls – much longer due to its serpentine routing). The Pacific side hosts two famous turtle hatching beaches, Playa Grande (in Parque Nacional Marino las Baulas de Guanacaste) for the huge leatherbacks and beaches in Refugio Nacional de Vida Silestre Ostional for olive ridley sea turtles.

If you’re spending time on turtle beaches be careful with torches as turtles, big and small, navigate to the sea by reflected light off the sea so torchlight can throw them terminally off course.