My last day in Palo Verde (maybe I’ll miss it here).

Okay, so I definitely won’t miss the mosquitoes, which were swarming so thick that they actually got through my shirt and filled my back with bumps. Yet nature still had some ways of surprising me today; it was as if everyone came out to say goodbye (even the blood-sucking insects).

Besides seeing two while tailed deer (a rare sight in Central America), I was looking through a stand of acacia plants (and finding Bagheera spiders) when I heard an unusual sound in the trees. It was similar to a low cooing, mixed with a chirp, and I figured that it was some sort of a bird. Some birds here, after all, make strange noises, like the oropendola (take a listen below).

Even the call of a toucan probably isn’t what you’d expect:

And I heard a few laughing falcons:

But this sound was different, almost creepy. And it got even creepier when something made a noise like a crying baby over the road, which was when I finally decided to take a break from my spider search and see what was happening. As it turned out, there was a family of howler monkeys above me, making the low noises to each other, and then the baby started crying when he couldn’t leap up one branch to reach his mother. You can see in the top video that he finally makes it, though.

Further along the road, I saw a coatimundi, which is relative of the raccoon. Even more impressive was that it stayed still for two pictures!

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To see a coatimundi in action, here’s a video:

The biggest surprise came about a kilometer later, when I thought I saw another coatimundi on the road. Except this one moved differently, because it stuck its elbows out.

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With that nose, I already figured it couldn’t be a coatimundi.

It turned and waddled off, only to spin back around and run towards my car when a similar creature burst from the vegetation. Here is the sequence that I saw:

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They both ran past me, but an instant later, they both disappeared back into the plants that grew along the roadside. I wished I’d gotten a video, but didn’t have time to switch over. Now what were they?

Definitely anteaters, the type known as the lesser anteater, or Northern tamandua (Tamandua mexicana). Believe it or not, some people actually keep them as pets!

Of course, before you run out and buy an exotic pet, take a good look at the claws on this one, which are perfectly adapted for digging into termite nests:

Imaging what they could do to a wall… or your pet kitten. They also cost between two and three thousand dollars and require a very special diet that will make them sick if it isn’t managed properly. The also smell kind of bad. To be honest, they are probably best off in the wild, among their own kind. If you really like the way they look, get a plush tamandua instead!

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Nearly all of the cuteness, and none of the mess. Image source: Big Furry Friends

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