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Do I need wellies?

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Old Tuesday 4th February 2020, 11:48   #1
Nick Brooks
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Do I need wellies?

Hi Folks,

Going to Costa Rica next week for a three week trip taking in all the usual sites: Arenal, Tenorio, Monteverde, Carara, Osa, Selva etc. Do I need wellies for forest hikes or would a good pair of walking boots suffice? Thanks.
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Old Tuesday 4th February 2020, 17:33   #2
njlarsen
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All i can say is that I did not have any Wellies when I visited CR ...

Niels
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Old Tuesday 4th February 2020, 17:39   #3
Steve Lister
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I have done three CR trips and have only really missed having wellies once. That was when we had to get out of the boat to search for Yellow-breasted Crake in the marshes at Cano Negro.
So I would say no.
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Old Thursday 6th February 2020, 12:07   #4
andyadcock
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I do know that researchers at La Selva wear wellies all the time but this is protection from snake bites more than mud.

I'd take a pair for what they weigh, we never needed them but you never know.
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Old Monday 10th February 2020, 18:32   #5
BryanP
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Hello Nick,
I agree with Niels and the others here, you probably won't need rubber boots during the dry season. It can rain this time of year but its unlikely. I've lived here for over six years and I can count on one hand the number of times I've worn them.

The gang at La Selva do wear wellies year round because it has been known to rain heavily there even during the dry season.The heavy duty rubber boots they sell in country normally do deflect snake bites but its not a perfect guarantee of prevention. My landlord almost lost a limb to a bite in his foot from a small (16 inches) Fer-de-lance while wearing heavy rubber boots. Bad luck perhaps? It did only manage to get one fang into his foot so wearing the heavy boots most likely kept it from being a worse encounter.

Last spring we dragged our wellies with us to Columbia mostly because we had the luggage room. If we hadn't the space I would've just bought a pair when we arrived and left them with the park rangers when we flew out. Someone will always find a use for them.
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Old Monday 10th February 2020, 21:57   #6
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You don't really need wellies. Concerning snakebite, in La Selva there is enough concrete walking paths and dirt roads to move on.
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Old Monday 10th February 2020, 23:24   #7
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Originally Posted by jurek View Post
You don't really need wellies. Concerning snakebite, in La Selva there is enough concrete walking paths and dirt roads to move on.
Hi Jurek,
True, no wellies this time of year.
For the record some of the biggest and scariest Fer-de-Lance snakes I've ever seen have been on the concrete paths at La Selva. (See photo)
Regarding the dirt roads you're correct unless the dirt roads/paths have standing puddles then all bets are off as the puddles attract frogs and the snakes show up to eat the frogs. Two CBC counts ago at La Selva my girlfriend almost stepped on a small one because we assumed we were safe on a wide, clean but soggy clay path.

The dirt paths in the dry season are also covered with layers of dead leaves and snakes sometimes curl up in the litter. My friend Noel Ureña was on one such path and was just putting his foot down when he at the very last second saw a big pit viper coiled up under foot. His reflexes saved the day as he fell back knocking me down with both of us tumbling down a small cliff, optics, cameras and all. It was a dept of conservation bird count and we decided to call it a day after that little incident.
I learned that day to never assume that leaf litter is snake free! Bloody things scare the bejeezus out of me!
Cheers,
Bryan
Photo of a 2 meter Fer-de-Lance on a concrete path at La Selva...Shudder!
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Old Tuesday 11th February 2020, 11:52   #8
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Snakes do like paths it's a fact, here's a 3m Reticulated Python which I nearly stepped on whilst it was coiled, Philippines.

A very aggressive snake which tried to bite us when we attempted to get it off the path which was very narrow, we couldn't get around it.

I aslo find Common Adders on the path on my patch in Russia all the time.
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Old Tuesday 11th February 2020, 13:16   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andyadcock View Post
Snakes do like paths it's a fact, here's a 3m Reticulated Python which I nearly stepped on whilst it was coiled, Philippines.

A very aggressive snake which tried to bite us when we attempted to get it off the path which was very narrow, we couldn't get around it.

I aslo find Common Adders on the path on my patch in Russia all the time.
Three meters long, Yikes! So what happened with the reluctant snake? You're here so obviously didn't get bitten, did you chivy it off the path or just turn back?
I think snakes are beautiful of course but must admit to feeling vulnerable when wearing wellies on their turf.
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Old Tuesday 11th February 2020, 15:11   #10
andyadcock
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BryanP View Post
Three meters long, Yikes! So what happened with the reluctant snake? You're here so obviously didn't get bitten, did you chivy it off the path or just turn back?
I think snakes are beautiful of course but must admit to feeling vulnerable when wearing wellies on their turf.
Cheers,
Bryan
It took us a few minutes before we annoyed it enough for it to move. It just wasn't afraid of us, we poked it with LONG sticks to try and move it and it struck at us a few times, continually hissing, you can see that it's adopting an agressive posture in the shot. It eventually, slowly and begrudgingly slipped off the path, but, the sneaky serpent had actually formed itself in to a 'U' shape and despite us being able to see just the tip of it's tail and thinking the business end was well away from us, my companion spotted that it's head was just above the path, above it's tail and still in striking distance.

We eventually sumoned the bravery to dash past it. Lucky for the snake that it was us that found it, had it been our Philippine, village guides, it may well have ended up in the pot.
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Old Tuesday 11th February 2020, 19:34   #11
BryanP
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Originally Posted by andyadcock View Post
It took us a few minutes before we annoyed it enough for it to move. It just wasn't afraid of us, we poked it with LONG sticks to try and move it and it struck at us a few times, continually hissing, you can see that it's adopting an agressive posture in the shot. It eventually, slowly and begrudgingly slipped off the path, but, the sneaky serpent had actually formed itself in to a 'U' shape and despite us being able to see just the tip of it's tail and thinking the business end was well away from us, my companion spotted that it's head was just above the path, above it's tail and still in striking distance.

We eventually sumoned the bravery to dash past it. Lucky for the snake that it was us that found it, had it been our Philippine, village guides, it may well have ended up in the pot.
A well calculated and orderly rear guard action on the part of the snake by the sounds of it.

Here in CR snakes don't end up in the pot just killed. The locals are convinced that Fer-de-Lance are very aggressive and will chase people long distances. No amount of reasoning will dispel this myth, It's firmly fixed in their mythology.
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