Costa Rica By:Jason Mendez

Introduction: Located in the continent of Central America, Costa Rica covers 51,060 square kilometers of land and 40 square kilometers of water, making it the 131st largest nation in the world with a total area of 51,100 square kilometers. Tropical Rainforests are often referred to as “jewels of the earth.” They are home to two-thirds of all living animal and plant species on the planet.

Shaded red area towards the bottom is Costa Rica

Country: The main biome found in Costa Rica is a tropical rainforest with high rainfall. These rainforests are very astounding magical nature sanctuary with abundance of shapes, colors, sounds, and aromas. The rainforest is divided into five different layers {the emergent, canopy, understory, shrub and ground}.

Rainforest with a beautiful waterfall

Ecosystems: Costa Rica is home to hundreds of different species and plants, containing 5% of the world’s biodiversity. Some of you reading this might like reptiles and snakes, or enjoy looking at colorful butterflies and tree frogs, while others might enjoy bird watching or seeing the monkeys swing from tree to tree. The place where there is the most diversity of life, or widest range of different life forms, is in the tropical rainforests. The Neotropical forests of Costa Rica alone seem to be bursting at the seems with over 200 species of mammals, 850 kinds of birds, 220 species of reptiles, 160 types of amphibians, 130 species of fresh water fish, 366,000 kinds of arthropods (insects, spiders, and crabs), and 13,020 species of plants!

Showing multiple organisms living near each other

A organism that I found to be extraordinary is the Margay. Margays range from Mexico through Central America, crossing into South America as far as Uruguay and northern Argentina. In Costa Rica, this small cat lives almost throughout the country, but is reclusive and not often spotted in the wild. They are most common in Corcovado National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, and Santa Rosa National Park.


In the 1960's, 1970's and early 1980's, margays were hunted ruthlessly for their beautiful coats. Though once considered vulnerable to extinction, margay populations have recovered and the cats are now classified as near threatened. However, margays do not survive well in disturbed areas, and are therefore very sensitive to deforestation and other forms of habitat loss.


The cats prefer rainforest habitats, but may also live in tropical dry forest, cloud forest and wooded areas from sea level to 10,000 feet. They spend most of their lives in trees, and sleep in the forest canopy or vine tangles 23-33 feet above the ground.

This nocturnal mammal is the most arboreal of all New World cats. Their extra long tails provide balance and counterweight for jumping from branch to branch. Large claws effectively grasp tree trunks, enabling the cats to hang from just one paw. Unique among all feline species, margays also have very flexible ankle bones that are capable of rotating 180º, allowing the animal to climb down trees face-first.



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