Only once in a blue moon do you get to experience something so beautiful and rare an overwhelming sense of awe and appreciation sweeps over you. You know the feeling: your heart simultaneously pounds and stands still; your force yourself to not blink because you have to absorb every moment into memory; you struggle to keep it together when you’re actually giddy through every inch of your body.
Today, it happened. We were fortunate enough to find a roost of Honduran White Bats. These adorable little critters are the size and color of a cotton ball and roost in small groups under tents which they fashion out of Heliconia leaves. These bats lay on the cusp of an endangered label and are hardly seen by any other than the scientists who study them. Though it’s not common to stumble across a tent, the plant local allows you to get within inches of the bats when you do. This find was so exciting we could barely contain ourselves (I don’t think we failed by our guide’s standards, but I think we did pretty good) luckily they were quite accommodating and seemed unbothered by our squeals and photo-shoot.
Our bat encounter was only one of many surprises on our orientation tour, which ended with our first real rain at La Selva. Ponchos, rain jackets, and umbrellas aren’t actually very good at keeping you dry here, but the rain was much appreciated. Apparently, ten rainless days is all it takes to be considered a drought here, and it has been a pretty dry year. Howler monkeys were all you could hear through the heavy drops, their deep guttural chants reaching across the property. Jaimie, our naturalist guide, told us they were happy calls because they love to sing in the shower just as much as we do.
Adventurers that we are, we tracked down some of these noisy monkeys after the rain let up. The calls of two other primates seemed to encourage even more vigorous vocals, and eventually we were able to get right under the tree they occupied. Though the trouble making vocalists seemed to disappear as soon as we got close, the howlers continued to shout warnings at us just in case we had come looking for trouble. A stick was thrown at us for good measure.
Not wanting to further offend these noble throwers off feces, we calmly left by politely pushing each other and nonchalantly running away as quickly as possible.