Los Tities De San Juan Forest Reserve: Home to Cotton-top Tamarins and Many Other Animals!

Our team conducts various biodiversity surveys in Los Tities de San Juan Forest Reserve in collaboration with various scientific experts.  This helps us understand what species of animals are found in  the forest and what species are using some of our newly restored forested areas within the reserve.  We have recently completed our survey of reptiles and amphibians and it is really a  lot different than trying to find cotton-tops in the forest!

Walking a transect along a hilly slope looking for reptiles and amphibians

Carolina and her team have established transects in the forest that they walk looking for reptiles and amphibians on the ground under the leaves, in the low understory brush, and in the trees.   Since many of these animals are nocturnal, there were some exciting night time adventures in the forest as well.  Walking transects at night in the rainy season has its own special set of challenges for the team, especially on those slippery slopes!

The team ready for a nocturnal survey adventure!

It’s always exciting to see new species added to our list!  We found  33 species of reptiles and 13 species of amphibians.  Some beautiful species of frogs including the spectacular Colombian horned frog and several species of tree frogs.


Colombian horned frogs are found in tropical dry lowlands

The Lovely Leaf Frog is found in the tropical forests of Colombia


The Yellow-striped poison dart frog lives among the leaf litter on the forest floor and is capable of producing a histrionicotoxins.  These toxins are stored in the glands in their skins and have been used by various tribes of Indians who would extract the poison from the frog and add it to the tip of their arrows for hunting.

Colombia is known for having a wide diversity of snakes and this forest reserve is no exception!  Many of the boa constrictors found in the forest consider cotton-top tamarins prey.  To avoid encounters with snakes, cotton-tops like to sleep high up in trees that are covered with strangling vines, making it difficult for large snakes to find them.

One of the snakes the field team, is very aware of is the venomous Fer de Lance, a pit viper that is extremely common in the forests where cotton-tops are found.

Fer de Lance

Grass Anole

The diversity of small lizards in the forest is amazing!  While there are many animals that like to prey upon anoles, cotton-top tamarin youngsters like to try and catch them.  If you see a young tamarin falling off a branch, you can bet they were trying to catch an Anole.