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Snakes

snakes in Costa RicaSnakes play a very important role in the food chain and come in a fascinating variety of sizes, colors and characteristics. Costa Rica is home to 147 species of snakes but only 26 of those are venomous. With the University of Costa Rica supporting world-leading anti-venom research, the country has a human mortality rate of less than 2% from an average of 300 bites per year.

A combination of negative media, myths and old wives’ tales have resulted in a general dislike for these beautiful creatures and we receive requests daily from the general public asking for our help in relocating snakes that have been found living a little too close for comfort to the caller - sometimes found curled up in their kitchen on nestled under a house. We occasionally also receive a call about a snake that has been attacked and injured by a human using a machete! Always remember - snakes are not aggressive, they are defensive. Respect their space!

A small number of these snakes are housed at the Center for a limited time before being released so that the local community and tourists alike can safely see for themselves these amazing animals up close while at the same time learning what to do should they encounter one.


JRC Statistics

JRC Repitles statistics

Type of Reptile

JRC Repitles statistics

Reason for Admission

JRC Repitles statistics

Cocodriles in Costa Rica

Crocodilians

In the waters of Costa Rica live two types of Crocodilian. The Spectacled Caiman (Caiman crocodilus) and the American Crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) which at up to 6 meters (or 20 feet) long and up to 900kg (or 2000 lbs) are the second largest species of crocodile in the world.

Although encounters with the larger reptiles have historically been rare in Costa Rica, human encroachment into their habitat means that year on year, we receive an increasing number of calls for help in relocating them away from populated areas or helping those that are injured.

Unfortunately, there is also an element of hunting crocodilians for their body parts which are incorrectly believed to have aphrodisiacal or medicinal benefits by the indigenous population.


LACERTIDS: 30-45%

The majority we receive are Green Iguanas with most arriving with injuries from being hunted, bitten by dogs or run over on our roads. Iguanas are often hunted for their meat or eggs. Usually hacked by a machete or shot with a slingshot, the hunters use the tendons in the animal's own 'fingers' to tie their hands and feet behind their backs for transportation.


SEA TURTLES: 2-8%

In egg-laying season the Police and Coast Guard are on the lookout for poachers who will incapacitate a turtle by stabbing it through the shell with a harpoon so it can't dive, or flip it on its back when it comes to the beach to lay its eggs and stab it through the belly. They usually have their flippers tied together with rope through holes punched through their flippers. Their eggs are also considered a delicacy.

  •  Green Sea Turtle
  •  Hawksbill Sea Turtle
  •  Leatherback

RIVER TURTLES: 5-10%

Frequently confiscated pets, run over on our roads or bitten by dogs.


Sea turtle costa rica

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