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Why Howler Monkeys Howl

Contemplative howler monkey in a serene pose

& 4 Animal Facts I Learned at Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center in Costa Rica

Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center in La Garita, Costa Rica is one of the country’s longest-running rescue centers for wildlife conservation. With over 125 species of animals, including monkeys, tapirs, jaguars, peacocks, and mountain lions, you’re bound to learn some fun facts about animals when you visit!

1. Why Howler Monkeys Howl

A howler monkey rests on a branch at Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center

When you’re in Costa Rica, you might wake up to the sound of howler monkeys. Howler monkeys are native to Central and South America, including Costa Rica! You can hear their howls from three miles away (that’s 4.83 km), and it’s the males with their uniquely large throats making all that noise.

Why do they do it? Howler monkeys travel in families, and the sound alerts other monkeys that their space is not up for grabs. In short, they’re letting everyone know they’re here. These trees are taken!

While they sound larger than life, their bodies are typically under three feet tall. Howler monkeys also have long tails, which are up to three feet long. The tail acts as an extra arm and helps with climbing and hanging from branches.

2. Tapirs Have An Important Job

Piki the tapir enjoys burrowing for snacks all day long.

Tapirs spend most of their days browsing and eating. While they were once common in Costa Rica, they have unfortunately been hunted for their meat and for sport.

Tapirs do an important job in the wild by eating so much. When they eat fruit and then wander, they disperse seeds throughout the forest.

At Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center, Piki the Tapir burrows for fruit with his unique snout. While tapirs are often confused with anteaters, they are actually related to rhinos and horses.

3. Jaguars Are Hard To Spot

Up close and personal with Guapo, Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center’s resident jaguar.

Jaguars are native to Costa Rica and live in trees in tropical rainforests. You can find them in Corcovado National Park, La Selva Biological Reserve, and several other protected areas. However, jaguars are difficult to spot, so sightings are rare.

Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center is home to Guapo the Jaguar, but even in his habitat, he can be difficult to find!

4. Peacocks Fly???

Peacocks with their beautiful feathers are the males of the peafowl.

With their large bodies and short wingspan, it’s easy to assume peacocks are like emus and do not fly. But actually, they can!

Peacocks can fly very short distances, like chickens. That’s why if you visit Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center in Costa Rica, you might see some peacocks on top of Kivu Restaurant.

5. Mountain Lions Purr!

This mountain lion looks so cozy!

Like your own house cat, mountain lions purr when they are happy. 

Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center’s Pita purrs very loudly. Interestingly, while a mountain lion, or puma, can purr, the jaguar cannot. Sorry, Guapo!

Visit Us To Learn Fun Animal Facts

Are you visiting Costa Rica, and do you want to learn more about our animal conservation efforts? Plan your trip to Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center and learn more about what we do!

written by volunteer Lisa Martens

Would you like to get involved yourself?

Become an Intern and have a unique wildlife experience.

Veterinary Internship

Veterinary interns work directly with our highly experienced veterinarian and our rehabilitation staff. You will assist with with animal intakes, exams, treatments, surgeries, feeding and record keeping.

Wildlife Internship​

Work hands-on in the Lifetime Care Sanctuary, Endangered Species Breeding Center and the Rescue Center, feeding animals, conducting behavioral research, and creating enriching experiences for our non-releasable animals or even clicker train our Jaguar „Guapo“.

Road to freedom Internship

This internship gives you the unique opportunity to not only see, but to play an active part in what we call: The Road to Freedom. Aid the animals in their release, monitor and research them and their second chance at life in the wild, the final step on their Road to Freedom.

Alajuela, COSTA RICA