Rica Rainforest Wildlife Info Costa Rica

Iguanas, Lizards, & Crocodiles

Information about Rainforest Animals, Environment and Earth Science in Costa Rica


                                Rican Iguana


Costa Rica has two kinds of large lizard-like reptiles: green iguanas and "black iguanas" (which are not technically an iguana). These ground nesting reptiles can be found high in the treetops, feeding on leaves and basking in the sun. Juvenile iguanas eat grubs and other invertebrates, while adults are mostly plant eaters but will occasionally eat small mammals and nesting birds.

Green Iguana in Costa Rica

Reptiles are restricted to living on land, since all throughout their lives they are air-breathing creatures.


There are an amazing variety of lizards of many different kinds in Costa Rica. They live everywhere, mostly in leaf piles and dry underbrush. One of the best places to find lizards is on the beach, where they hang out around driftwood logs and eat insects.


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Iguanas and Lizards in Costa Rica

On the beach, lizards with long back legs scamper and leap among the logs. They are one of the most commonly seen creatures here, but they can be difficult to get pictures of, because they rarely sit still for the camera. When they see you approach, they bolt and hide in the brush, making them extremely difficult to photograph.  §


Jesus Christ Lizard in the Rain

Jesus Christ Lizard

Some of the lizards here are cabable of amazing feats of acrobatic skill. For instance, the so-called Jesus Christ Lizard can actually walk on water. Well, what it can do is run on water, to be precise. They run very very fast on their hind legs, with a kind of slapping motion of the back feet. It's pretty amazing to watch.

Geckos can climb on sheer smooth walls, using the sticky pads on their feet. They hunt mosquitos, making them a favorite among people. Other kinds of lizards can jump and climb amazingly well, hopping from branch to branch in the undergrowth. There are also some fairly large iguanas and related large lizards. They are fairly rare, but they are still to be found, and can even be seen sometimes in the undergrowth near the beach. §

Crocodiles in Costa Rica

Protected Species Crocodiles


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Success with Endangered Crocodiles

Reptiles are also numerous and interesting in Costa Rica. Crocodiles, which have a longer snout than alligators, live in several rivers of the area. Their smaller relatives, the caimans, are also present near the Atlantic and Pacific coasts and in some rivers in the interior part of the country. Famous places for spotting these creatures include Tortuguero and Corcovado parks. In past years these animals reached dangerously low numbers, which encouraged breeding and protection programs. However, these programs were so efficient that the sightings of crocodiles have increased tremendously, and there have also been some attacks. Attacks have always occurred in rivers that are known to contain a large population of these creatures; the unfortunate swimmers were aware of the danger but they simply ignored it. §

Iguana Verde Foundation Green Iguana Conservation Scholastic News: Green Iguanas