While Britain gets bulldogs and the USA lays claim to bald-headed eagles, Costa Rica’s national emblem comes in the form of tiny jungle frogs. But then, there are plenty of the critters to choose from. Here’s our guide to Costa Rica’s cutest spring-mounted rainforest residents…
Green & Black Poison Dart Frogs
We’re rather partial to a square or two of Green & Black’s chocolate. But not everything with that moniker tastes quite so good – and that’s certainly the case with this little fella, who is… how can we put it… rather less palatable. Modelling a jet black body streaked with neon flashes of lime, this teeny-tiny hopper’s markings serve as a warning to predators saying, ‘eat me and you’ll know about it’. As their name suggests, the frogs are highly toxic, which is why jungle tribes use them to poison their weapons.
These guys must roll their little froggy eyes and cringe every time another frog bumps into them and lands the line ‘I know what you’re like, I can see right through you!’. Reason being, other than some feint red veins, these delicate frogs are translucent to the core – hence their name. No surprise that spotting one is on a par with pointing out the Invisible Man sans trench coat and hat in a line-up. But head to the Tortuguero National Park and you might just get lucky.
Blue Jeans Frogs
Measuring in at just one inch, this dinky frog is one of Costa Rica’s most iconic amphibians – and arguably the best dressed. That’s because Mother Nature teamed the frog’s reddish-orange torso with bright blue legs that make it look like it’s wearing a pair of Levi 501s. For a good chance of spotting one, head into the Sarapiqui rainforest or the Tortuguero National Park and try and home in on its distinctive ‘chirp-chirp-chirp’ croak.
Red-Eyed Tree Frogs
At last – there’s a hopper in our frog chorus that’s classic green. Well almost… This chap spends a lot of his time snoozing under jungle leaves so his green ensemble is great camouflage. But this amphibian has a hidden hue or two under its belt. If disturbed, the frog will opens its boggle eyes to reveal a pair of enormous red peepers and expose its bright orange feet. The colour flash often startles predators, allowing the frog to hop off and avoid becoming a bird’s breakfast.