The Tayra of Costa Rica
The Tayra resembles a ferret or weasel, but it is quite a bit larger in length and weight than both of these animals that are also in the same family of Mustelidae.
Tayras cover a range that extends from Mexico into much of South America. The Tayra inhabits tropical evergreen forest and deciduous forest. Some of their locations in Costa Rica consist of Piedras Blancas National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Corcovado National Park, Santa Rosa National Park and La Selva Biological Station to name a few.
Mating & Reproduction
Female Tayras regularly produce a brood of two to four young. Males and females will call to each other during mating season. Once a successful copulation takes place, gestation generally lasts around nine weeks. The young Tayras nurse for about three months before starting to ingest solid food. Three weeks is also close to the time when Tayras will become independent.
Tayras are omnivores that consume small mammals, fruits, small reptiles and carrion (remains of dead animals). When kept as pets, they might also eat other domesticated animals. They are, however, kept as pets in Central and South America to fend off vermin in rural areas. Locals refer to them as cabeza del viejo (old man’s head) due to their wrinkles.
Tayras are mostly diurnal, but they can be nocturnal at times, also. Despite having bad eyesight, they are excellent climbers. They are preyed upon by larger cats, caiman and boa constrictors, and they are adept runners and swimmers when pursued.
Tayras store food to let it ripen. They do this primarily with plantains. This shows a certain level of intelligence only exhibited by a few species.
Tayras are listed as of least concern in terms of their conservation status, but they are threatened by displacement. The species is slowly becoming less populated.
Where to see it in Costa Rica: Piedras Blancas National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Corcovado National Park, Santa Rosa National Park, La Selva Biological Station
Diet: small mammals, fruits, small reptiles, carrion
Migration Pattern: non-migratory
Habitat: tropical evergreen and deciduous forest