Costa Rica 2014

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Trey
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Costa Rica 2014

Post by Trey » June 23rd, 2014, 7:55 am

I just recently got back from a 10 day trip to Costa Rica with fellow forum member Dr. Dark. Half of the time was spent in the north central portion of the country in Arenal, while the other half was spent in the northwest portion of the country near Liberia in Guanacaste. It was a fantastic trip to an amazing country I have long wanted to visit!

I would like to preface this by saying that I am by no means a photographer, amateur or otherwise! We saw a total of 57 live individuals from 22 different species during our roughly 9 days of herping. Plus a whole skew of DOR's that I didnt count. Hopefully, Dr. Dark has an account of the DOR's and some better pictures to add to this post ;)

Hope you Enjoy!

Here is a view from the Lodge dining room of the Arenal volcano. There was about an hour time period that I was able to get this shot on the last day of our stay. The rest of the time the volcano was shrouded by the clouds that brought the torrential downpours we endured. Gorgeous view none the less!

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And a little teaser of the snakes to come... this was our rooms patio on the second to last night in Arenal

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But before the snakes, here are a couple shots of Costa Rica's most iconic frog. To the dismay of the 'phib guys I am sure, I actually stopped paying attention to all of the different frogs seen. It would be almost impossible to document all of them without eating up a ton of time that could be better used finding more snakes ;)

This was the coolest in situ shot ever in my opinion..
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.. this one wasn't bad either.
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Now on to the snakes!

We found 11 total Bothriechis schlegelii affectionately known as the Eyelash Viper. As I am sure most of us know, these guys come in an astounding array of colors and patterns.

This first male we found was a gorgeous yellow and had a HUGE meal in him. I would venture to guess based on abundance of available prey that it was a frog of some sort.
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Here is a younger male in a brilliant brick red..
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or is it brown?
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A female in the lovely yellow or "Oropel" phase
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A nice garden phase male
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Speaking of garden phase, a LARGE female and perhaps my favorite schleg of the trip
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And another nice yellow male
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Hopefully Dr. Dark will add some more shots of these awesome snakes!

We hiked up a big Pseustes poecilonotus, that promptly bit the hell out of me upon capture and subsequently Dr. Dark. Check out the blood on his pants! In this picture you can also catch a glimpse of Miguel, who is a good friend of Dr. Dark's and a Costa Rican native.
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In broad daylight we cruised another beautiful one exhibiting a high amount of red..
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who upon release found himself a couple of tasty treats :D
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Speaking of snakes with red in them, we hiked up this cool little Rhadinaea decorata
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We Flipped and cruised three of these Ninia sebae.
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A couple of nice looking Micrurus mosquitensis, this little guy was out on a side walk
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And this one Dr. Dark flipped under a piece of AC at a trailhead
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Apparently he remembered who found him.. and did not like posing much!
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And a sweet look-alike we hiked up after seeing a few DOR's, Oxyrhopus petola
This one had less red than usual..
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This young Atropoides mexicanus came from the same forest the big coral was found in
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These guys are beyond timid
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In that same forest we also hiked up a snake I was very much hoping to see, Bothrops asper.
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A couple nights later we cruised an even bigger one
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A very formidable beast, and one I have wanted since I was a young child!
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Dr. Dark and Miguel taking some shots
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And just to give you an idea of their crypsis
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These Sibon nebulatus were relatively common, we found 4 live individuals. Super sweet snakes.
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An even more exciting find from the same genus was two of these great looking Sibon longifrenis who have a dead ringer pattern for a certain color phase of B. schlegelii.
The first one was quite a feat of teamwork; Miguel spotted the snake about 15-20 feet up in a tree cruising between branches, I managed to get a hook on it with some effort which caused it to fall and Dr. Dark caught it mid air! All in the inky blackness of the rainforest at night.

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We found 4 of these Imantodes cenchoa. Such a delicate looking snake, very cool indeed.
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These Leptodeira septentrionalis are great snakes, and remind me a little bit of some Boiga. We found 3 of these guys.
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We found one Boa constrictor in Arenal... he didn't like taking pictures...
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and three during the next leg of our trip in Guanacaste, including this large adult..
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and a couple of babies
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Guanacaste was HOT and dry, but with about 1000% humidity. We prayed for rain to the great snake in the sky "Ophidius Maximus" :lol: but despite the oppressive heat and lack of rain we still managed to do pretty darn good if I do say so myself!

On the drive over from Arenal we cruised this big adult Loxocemus bicolor
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And a younger, smaller version a few nights later
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We also scored this sweet Porthidium ophryomegas on that same drive
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We hiked up a couple of neonates later on in the trip
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We called it a night shortly after cruising this neo Crotalus simus
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The next night we cruised this BEAST that was every bit of 5 foot. Super exciting find for both of us!
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We scored some fossorial species that are often found in close proximity of each other

Enulius flavitorques
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Leptotyphlops ater.. this guy was soooo tiny
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We cruised what I would consider a ribbon snake with the nastiest disposition ever, Thamnophis proximus
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And an awesome opistoglyph, Crisantophis nevermanni
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We found 4 of these Leptodeira annulata, which look very similar to the septentrionalis but are more robust and terrestrial..
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On the last night we rounded out the Sibon trifecta with this gorgeous Sibon anthracops
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I was sad to leave, and wish I had just a couple more days to end up with 25 species ;)... but there is always next year!

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TravisK
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Re: Costa Rica 2014

Post by TravisK » June 23rd, 2014, 10:54 am

WOW, I love threads from other 'countries'. Thanks for posting the nice shots and all the diversity is great!

Jacob
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Re: Costa Rica 2014

Post by Jacob » June 23rd, 2014, 3:09 pm

Ridiculous!

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Dr. Dark
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Re: Costa Rica 2014

Post by Dr. Dark » June 24th, 2014, 4:54 am

Great post bro! This was my fifth trip to CR and certainly the most productive! Lots of 18+ hour herping days paid off. Can't wait until next year...
My personal favorite pic of the trip:

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Rags
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Re: Costa Rica 2014

Post by Rags » June 24th, 2014, 6:33 am

Hi Trey,

There must be about 25 snakes in bags there? What happened to them?

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Trey
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Re: Costa Rica 2014

Post by Trey » June 24th, 2014, 11:39 am

Rags wrote:Hi Trey,

There must be about 25 snakes in bags there? What happened to them?
Not sure what you are asking specifically... we took pictures and let them go.

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Jeroen Speybroeck
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Re: Costa Rica 2014

Post by Jeroen Speybroeck » June 25th, 2014, 2:51 am

Impressive! The simus are my favorites.

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Rags
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Re: Costa Rica 2014

Post by Rags » June 25th, 2014, 4:16 am

Is that one nights catch in the photo or do you collect for a few days and then have a session of photographs in one day?

Is I it difficult returning the snakes to the area they were found in?

Not implying anything, just wondering. thanks, Rags.

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Dr. Dark
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Re: Costa Rica 2014

Post by Dr. Dark » June 25th, 2014, 5:24 am

Rags, most were found right on the grounds of the lodge we were staying at. A few others were road-cruised at night and were released in rain forest near to their capture.

orphia
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Re: Costa Rica 2014

Post by orphia » June 25th, 2014, 9:44 am

I unlurked just to say: fantastic shots of Loxocemus, an animal I wish I saw more often anywhere.

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Chaitanya
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Re: Costa Rica 2014

Post by Chaitanya » June 25th, 2014, 10:05 am

nice finds, Sibon nebulatus and other sibons are really good looking snakes.

Nate S.
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Re: Costa Rica 2014

Post by Nate S. » June 25th, 2014, 11:21 am

Absolutely amazing post!! You found almost every species I would ever hope to see in Costa Rica!

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Dr. Dark
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Re: Costa Rica 2014

Post by Dr. Dark » June 26th, 2014, 8:13 am

Just had to add this example of why one should ALWAYS look where you are putting your hands while in the jungle. While herping a large tract of primary forest on the northeastern edge of Lake Arenal, we came upon an old zipline platform. While the others milled around, I climbed up the ~50 ft staircase and looked around on the platform. As I turned to come back down and see what Trey and Miguel were up to, I came within a few inches of putting my hand right on this beauty! (Photo taken after the others came up to see. Pose was exactly the same...)


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Trey
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Re: Costa Rica 2014

Post by Trey » June 26th, 2014, 3:22 pm

orphia wrote:I unlurked just to say: fantastic shots of Loxocemus, an animal I wish I saw more often anywhere.
Thanks orphia, the Loxocemus were really just fantastic animals! I didn't really expect to see one and feel lucky we got two.
Chaitanya wrote:nice finds, Sibon nebulatus and other sibons are really good looking snakes.
Nate S. wrote:Absolutely amazing post!! You found almost every species I would ever hope to see in Costa Rica!
Thanks guys! Appreciate the comments, and yes the Sibon certainly are a great looking genus. I really enjoy the more arboreal snakes in general.
Dr. Dark wrote:Just had to add this example of why one should ALWAYS look where you are putting your hands while in the jungle. While herping a large tract of primary forest on the northeastern edge of Lake Arenal, we came upon an old zipline platform. While the others milled around, I climbed up the ~50 ft staircase and looked around on the platform. As I turned to come back down and see what Trey and Miguel were up to, I came within a few inches of putting my hand right on this beauty! (Photo taken after the others came up to see. Pose was exactly the same...)
Thanks for posting that pic!

We got to see some really interesting inverts, including a few other tarantulas, and some scorpions. Do you have that other scorpion pic?

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Muchobirdnerd
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Re: Costa Rica 2014

Post by Muchobirdnerd » June 26th, 2014, 5:48 pm

Great post!!!

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JEDDLV
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Re: Costa Rica 2014

Post by JEDDLV » June 29th, 2014, 9:40 am

Nice post Trey, I really enjoyed it, & thought your pics were great.

apodemus
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Re: Costa Rica 2014

Post by apodemus » July 3rd, 2014, 12:17 pm

Nice post & pictures, Trey! FYI - your Urotheca guentheri is actually Rhadinaea decorata.
Twan

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Dr. Dark
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Re: Costa Rica 2014

Post by Dr. Dark » July 3rd, 2014, 12:46 pm

Apodemus, good call on that...not sure how we F'ed that one up so badly!

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jason folt
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Re: Costa Rica 2014

Post by jason folt » July 3rd, 2014, 7:08 pm

Some really interesting species there, but why pin/handle Bothrops? Or maybe just, why post pictures of yourself doing such? I don't really get it I guess.

J

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Trey
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Re: Costa Rica 2014

Post by Trey » July 5th, 2014, 1:08 pm

apodemus wrote:Nice post & pictures, Trey! FYI - your Urotheca guentheri is actually Rhadinaea decorata.
Twan

Thanks for the correction!
jason folt wrote:Some really interesting species there, but why pin/handle Bothrops? Or maybe just, why post pictures of yourself doing such? I don't really get it I guess.

J
A lot of people do a lot of things I don't understand as well Jason.

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jason folt
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Re: Costa Rica 2014

Post by jason folt » July 5th, 2014, 4:10 pm

I was actually looking for an honest answer. I am not trying to fish for a fight, that isn't how I am wired. If you post a picture like that surely you know someone is going to ask?

I also just returned from Costa Rica last week. We visited different areas, but you saw some really awesome snakes and obviously had a great trip. I would be interested in seeing your amphibian and lizard species lists as well if you are willing to share.

J

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Trey
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Re: Costa Rica 2014

Post by Trey » July 6th, 2014, 10:36 am

jason folt wrote:I was actually looking for an honest answer. I am not trying to fish for a fight, that isn't how I am wired. If you post a picture like that surely you know someone is going to ask?

I also just returned from Costa Rica last week. We visited different areas, but you saw some really awesome snakes and obviously had a great trip. I would be interested in seeing your amphibian and lizard species lists as well if you are willing to share.

J

I wasn't sure of your motive in asking that question.. glad you cleared it up. I was not really expecting anyone to ask. No real reason other than I wanted to.

I will have to think back and compile a list of lizards and frogs we saw, I wasn't keeping track and didn't bother stopping for a lot of them. I would have liked to see Cruziohyla, and some different Phyllomedusines and Dendrobatids, but didn't.

Looking forward to seeing your your post!

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Roki
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Re: Costa Rica 2014

Post by Roki » July 7th, 2014, 2:11 pm

Just an awesome post! You guys did incredible on the snakes. I love that eyelash shot you guys got too. Great to see around Arenal is so productive.
Cheers,
Roki

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