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Watch: Howler monkeys in Potrero, Guanacaste

September 8, 2020

Howler monkeys may be among the most interesting animals to spot in Costa Rica. And they’re not all that difficult to find — you just need to use your ears.

Sometimes traveling in groups of several dozen, mantled howlers are just fun to watch as they navigate branches using their prehensile tails. When active, you’ll often see them eating leaves or flowers.

But this species gets its name due to its blaring vocalizations. Males typically howl at dawn and dusk, and a keen listener can hear their memorable calls from kilometers away.

Howler monkeys are common in Costa Rica — which is good news for wildlife seekers but bad news for people who like sleeping in. You can see (and hear) them pretty much anywhere outside the highlands, especially in Guanacaste.

Howler monkeys almost always ignore humans, but when provoked, they will howl — or worse. Many an unsuspecting passerby has been targeted by howler monkey excrements.

Thankfully, that wasn’t our fate over the weekend when we came face-to-face with a howler monkey troop in Potrero, Guanacaste. The howlers howled, we took a quick video, and then we continued on our way.

Here are a few more photos of howler monkeys in Costa Rica: 

Howler monkey mom and baby.
Howler monkey mom and baby in a mango tree. James Kaiser
Some soulful sky-gazing in Santa Teresa. John Honeyman
Kintu at Sibu
Kintu at Sibu Wildlife Sanctuary. Via Sibu Wildlife Sanctuary.

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