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Pic of the Day: Capuchin monkeys find snake in tree

April 8, 2019

BAHÍA DRAKE,  Puntarenas — For a significant portion of our recent Deep Dive to the Southern Zone, I felt as if I had been inserted into the “Planet Earth” nature documentary.

That idea resonated strongly in Agujitas, a small town in Drake Bay where scarlet macaws fly overhead near stunning beaches.

But one morning, a group of capuchin monkeys stole the show.

Early into a coastal trail hike, the branches above me rustled. Sure enough, a half-dozen capuchin monkeys were climbing through the trees.

Alejandro Zúñiga / The Tico Times

Having spent time at Manuel Antonio and Cahuita National Parks, where the white-faced capuchins have no fear of humans, I didn’t think too much of the primates. With a long hike still ahead of me, I wasn’t even planning on taking out my camera.

But these monkeys seemed agitated, and they focused on one tree in particular. Since capuchins exhibit fear reactions to dangerous snakes and other predators, I scanned the branches for other animals.

Alejandro Zúñiga / The Tico Times

Moments later, I spotted a large Boa constrictor nestled in a dead branch.

Alejandro Zúñiga / The Tico Times

The Boa constrictor is largely nocturnal, and this one was asleep, undisturbed by the events transpiring around him. After a few minutes, the capuchins — perhaps realizing there was no imminent threat — followed a maze of branches back into the forest.

And I hiked on.

 

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