Cristina and I are very fond of pineapples, which are a staple fruit in Costa Rica. When we arrived in San José we were baffled to see a huge truck filled to the brim with pineapples. In Holland and Sweden one can see trucks like that with sugar beets.
In Costa Rica, you can get them virtually anywhere and all year round. However, you may need to wait a couple of days or a week before they are really ripe. Soon after we arrived in our new house in Santa Elena, we bought one of those not yet ripe pineapples. It needed a place to ripen, preferably somewhere sunny. There is only one such place in the house, which is the veranda with glass walls. So that’s where we put it, in a bowl. The next morning we discovered a gaping hole in the pineapple and bits and pieces strewn around the bowl. What the hell … ?? And after the indignation had faded, the lazy birdwatcher started wondering, which animal had robbed us, and how did it get into our veranda?
The second question was easy to answer. The veranda has a big opening between the top of the glass walls and the roof. We had not realized that there was wildlife nearby that could climb in because we feel like living in a village rather than the forest. However, the forest starts right behind our house.
That brings me to the first question: which animal has the skills, the nerve and the appetite to come into our home. We are looking for a fruit eating animal, so that rules out the cats (the margays, the ocelots, the pumas and the jaguars) and other carnivores. We also know it is a nocturnal animal and a good climber. We know that kinkajous and olingos fit those criteria, but so do rats, opossums, pizotes, porcupines, tayras and raccoons. Certain bat species also eat fruit, but they would not devour a quarter of a pineapple.
There were no bite marks visible on the pineapple and no footprints on the floor. To answer the question we put our camera trap to work. So, the next evening, we sacrificed another piece of the pineapple. And it worked like a shine:
It was an opossum. It turned out that it and/or its cousins returned a couple of times that same night to their treasure : around 19.30 (we thought we heard something), around 23.30, 02.00 and 04.00. As the video shows, it or they also tried to take their prize elsewhere, but it was a bit too heavy, apparently.
Okay. No pineapples on the veranda anymore, and just to be on the safe side, we started closing the door between the veranda and the rest of the house during the nights. One never knows if some entrepreneurial opossums might find our kitchen.
Since there still was some pineapple left over, we got curious about which other wild life may be interested. We put the remaining chunk outside, in front of the veranda and close to the wall to the forest, and the camera trap aimed at it.
The first observation was that there is a lot of tame life, walking around our patio. The camera trap caught a dog and two cats, one black-and-white and one ginger cat.
You may notice that the piece of pineapple does not occur on the two pictures to the right. When they passed by, it had already been removed by los tres amigos. It took them some effort to overcome their fears or so, but then they devoured the piece and took the remains. Here are three clips, glued together.
And the opossum? It also paid a visit, but it was too late.