By Dr. Fernando Riera
This peculiar mammal, a “cousin” of theweasels, is a diurnal predator; it is hard to pindown because we don’t see it often here. The Tayra (Eira barbara) or tolomuco, as it is known in Costa Rica, is characterized by its stretched-out body and long thick tail. Its color varies from brown to black
It can weigh between four and six kg and measures up to 70 cm without the tail, which is about 45 cm long. The head is wider and larger relative to its body and those of other mustelids. Mustelids are carnivorous mammals inhabiting forests and areas with abundant vegetation.
Generally, the Tayra can be seen hunting alone or in groups, especially on trees, where it is very agile and its skills are much better than on the ground. It can hunt anything: agoutis, rabbits, and even sloths, which have been reported as a part of its diet. It has also been seen feeding on berries.
The Tayra sleeps in tree cavities or in underground burrows which it steals from other animals. Once a year, females give birth to two to four pups.
Even though Tayras are elusive, frequent sightings have been reported in Costa Ballena. The probability of seeing one is greater when walking or riding a bike.
Good luck in seeing a Tolomuco!
iNFO: Centro veterinario Costa ballena – Dr. Fernando Riera S.