In this Issue:

Animals, Birds & Flowers Of Costa Rica
Pizote, Crocodile, Spectacled Owl & Chick & Butterfly Weed

Pizote (Nasua narica), also known as the Antoon, is a species of coati and a member of the Procyonidae (raccoon family). It has a long shovel-shaped snout that extends beyond its lower jaw, and a 20-to-25-inch (51-64 cm) long erect tail with six or seven light bands on it. It has crushing molars and large canine teeth.

White-nosed Coatis inhabit wooded areas (dry forests, rain forests, cloud forests) of the Americas. They are found at any altitude from sea level to 3500 meters (11,500 feet), and from as far north as southeastern Arizona and New Mexico to as far south as Panama.

White-nosed Coatis are generally dark brown, reddish, or yellow. Their eyes are masked while their muzzles, chins, and throats are light gray. Their bodies range around 110 to 120 centimeters (43 to 47 inches) long, of which 50 to 65 centimeters (20-26 inches) is tail. They normally weigh between five and nine kilograms (11-20 pounds). The Coati's tail is not prehensile.

They are omnivores, preferring small vertebrates, fruits, carrion, insects, and eggs. They can climb trees easily, where the tail is used for balance, but they are most often on the ground foraging. Their predators include boas, raptors, hunting cats, and tayras (tolomucos). They readily adapt to human presence; like raccoons, they will raid campsites and trash receptacles. They can be domesticated easily, and have been verified experimentally to be quite intelligent.

They are primarily diurnal, retiring during the night to a specific tree and descending at dawn to begin their daily search for food.
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The American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) is a species of crocodilian found primarily in Central America. It is the most widespread of the four extant species of crocodiles from the Americas. Populations occur from the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of southern Mexico to South America as far as Peru and Venezuela. It also breeds on Cuba, Jamaica, and Hispaniola, and there is a remnant population of less than 1200 in Florida, United States. The habitat of the American crocodile consists largely of coastal areas. The American crocodile is larger than some other crocodile species, with some males reaching lengths of 6.1 metres (20 ft) in Central and South America.

Like all crocodilians, the American crocodile is a quadruped, with four short, splayed legs; a long, powerful tail; a scaly hide with rows of ossified scutes running down its back and tail.[2] The snout is elongated and includes a strong pair of jaws. The eyes have nictitating membranes for protection along with lachrymal glands, which produce tears.

The nostrils, eyes, and ears are situated on the top of its head, so the rest of the body can be concealed underwater for surprise attacks.[2] Camouflage also helps them prey on food. American crocodiles normally crawl on their belly, but they can also "high walk".[3] Larger specimens can gallop up to 10 miles per hour (16 km/h).[4] They can swim at as much as 20 miles per hour (32 km/h) by moving their body and tail in a sinuous fashion, but they cannot sustain this speed.

American crocodiles are more susceptible to cold than American alligators.[6] Unlike the American alligator which can subsist in water of 45 degreesF) for some time, an American crocodile would become helpless and drown.It is thought that this intolerance to cold is the reason why American crocodiles never spread as far northward as the alligators. American crocodiles, however, have a faster growth rate than alligators, and are much more tolerant of salt water.
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Spectacled Owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata)
Spectacled Owls  are dark brown with a whitish to yellow-ochre belly, a white patch on the front of the neck and a dark brown belt across the breast. White "spectacles" around their yellow eyes give them their name.
A juvenile has the adult markings in reverse - a white head with black mask, and may take several years from hatching to attain full adult plumage.

Habits: An unsociable bird. Generally nocturnal, with activity normally begining after dusk and continuing to dawn. Roosts singly by day in trees with dense foliage. Most vocal on calm, moonlit nights.

Size: Length 43-46cm (17-18")
Weight male 453-680g (16-24oz)  female 680-906g (24-32oz)

Voice: A series of knocking or tapping sounds with a poping effect "PUP-pup-pup-pup-po", each successive note being lower and weaker, and the rhythm quicker as the series progresses.
The Female also has a hawk-like scream "ker-WHEEER", which has been likened to a steam whistle.

Hunting & Food: Spectacled Owls eat small mammals including mice and the occasional possum or skunk, insects, spiders, many Caterpillars, bats, birds up to the size of Jays, crabs and frogs.
They use a branch to perch on and scan the surrounding area. When prey is located, they drop with a swift pounce. Insects are snatched from foliage.

Breeding: In Costa Rica, eggs are laid in the dry season, or at the start of the wet season. Spectacled Owls nest in tree hollows and lay 1-2 eggs, which are incubated by the female for about 5 weeks. Chicks leave the nest for surrounding branches at about 5-6 weeks, well before they can fly, but depend on their parents for up to a year once fledged. Often, only one chick will survive.

Habitat: Occurs more frequently in dense tropical rainforest with mature, large trees, including forest edges. Also found in dry forest, treed savannah habitat, plantations and open areas with scattered trees.

Distribution: Mexico, Central America, Northern two-thirds of South America.
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1266/1362308427_c82f7efb88.jpg?v=0
Spectacled Owl (Pulsatrix perspicillata) and chick, Carara National Park, Costa Rica
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Butterfly Weed (Asclepias curassavica)
Common Names: scarlet milkweed, bloodflower, silkweed, Indian root
Family: Asclepiadaceae (milkweed Family)

Description
Scarlet milkweed is an erect, evergreen perennial subshrub, often grown as an annual. Like most milkweeds, it has opposite leaves and milky sap. The leaves are about 5 in (12.7 cm) long, narrowly elliptic, and pointed at both ends. Scarlet milkweed gets about 3-4 ft (0.6-0.9 m) tall and usually has a few pairs of symmetrical branches. The flowers are orange and red and borne in terminal and axillary clusters that are 2-4 in (5.1-10.2 cm) across. It blooms continuously from spring until autumn. The fruits are spindle shaped pods, 3-4 in (7.6-10.2 cm) long, that eventually split open to release little flat seeds that drift away on silky parachutes. A cultivar with yellow flowers is available.

Location
Scarlet milkweed is native to South America but has become a naturalized weed in tropical and subtropical pastures, fields and disturbed areas throughout the world.
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White-nosed Coatis inhabit wooded areas (dry forests, rain forests, cloud forests) of the Americas.
The American crocodile (Crocodylus acutus) is a species of crocodilian found primarily in Central America.
Spectacled Owls are dark brown with a whitish to yellow-ochre belly, a white patch on the front of the neck and a dark brown belt across the breast. White "spectacles" around their yellow eyes give them their name.
Chicks leave the nest for surrounding branches at about 5-6 weeks, well before they can fly, but depend on their parents for up to a year once fledged.
Scarlet milkweed is an erect, evergreen perennial subshrub, often grown as an annual. Like most milkweeds, it has opposite leaves and milky sap.

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