Monkey business

The cutest thing I saw in Costa Rica was a baby howler monkey, a dark-haired lump with limpid moon-shaped eyes bulging in a tiny, wrinkled simian face.

It clung to a sapling, nibbling green shoots, studying the world upside down, looking totally relaxed about life in the Curu wildlife refuge on the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula.

High up among the trees of the surrounding jungle its older relatives shrieked and hollered but played hard to see. Close up they probably aren’t cuddly at all.

Toucans are a touch too pugnacious to ever be called cute. Two captive birds I saw hopped about between branches, wielding their vividly-daubed and heavy bills with surprising dexterity, occasionally nibbling at melon cubes or fronting up with intent at the cage wire, trying to poke me with their formidable beaks. Sadly I didn’t see one toucan in the wild, let alone the fabled quetzal. Contact me for complete article

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