“They come down once a week to poop!” grins our guide when I enquire as to the movements of the algae-covered furball that droops motionless between the branches in the treetop above.
No study has been able to determine exactly why the three-toed sloth of Costa Rica persists in this ritual, as they are incredibly slow-moving on the ground and leave themselves vulnerable to attack during each half hour it takes them to complete the performance. However, I bet I can guess exactly when this happens; Mondays.
This I’m able summise this with absolute certainty as it is the one day each week when the Manuel Antonio Park is closed to visitors. I know I’d choose a bit of solitude and seclusion for my weekly toilette – wouldn’t you?! Without a doubt it’s Monday, when there’s not a soul around to see it, that this notoriously sluggish creature clambers down from the canopy to let its’ hair down (and perhaps shakes out a few of the hundred beetles and moths or so that are known to inhabit the fur of a single animal). I can even imagine it partaking in the Monday mayhem that I’m positive permeates the rest of the park when no-one is looking (you should have heard the hullaballoo eminating from the hillside last Monday night – it certainly wasn’t coming from the hostel!); wild times with the White-faced Capuchin monkeys,
sundowners with the Squirrel Monkeys,
high fives with the Howlers – a right old riot!
Okay, I’m being peevish (and just a little ridiculous), but it would explain the extreme quiet in this particular stretch of jungle this Tuesday morning. A reluctance of even the insect life to come anywhere remotely visible to the human eye could be explained by a general state of hungoverness – old Jimminy’s been on the gin again, kind of thing.
As it happens, it takes the expert eye of our guide and the help of a sizable ‘scope to spot anything at all. But just as I’m grumbling these very thoughts to myself I’m rewarded by a rustle in the leaves, a rush of activity and a smiling face that is so serene, it’s silly. This guy has no need to party – he’s just high on life and he’s on the move!