Costa Rica is home to a rich variety of plants and animals. It supports an enormous variety of wildlife, due in large part to its geographic position between the North and South American continents, its neotropical climate, and its wide variety of habitats.
Costa Rica is ranked fifth in the world, and first in the American Continent, in terms of the 2012 Environmental Performance Index. The country covers 0.25% of the surface of the globe (approximately the size of West Virginia), but it houses 5% (more than 500,000 species) of the existing biodiversity in the entire world. Hundreds of these species only exist in Costa Rica. Costa Rica is one of the 20 countries in the world with the highest biodiversity. Around 25% of the country's land area is composed of conservation and natural protected territory.
The Wildlife of Costa Rica comprises all naturally occurring animals, fungi and plants that reside in this Central American country. Costa Rica is home to more than 500,000 species, which represents nearly 5% of the total species estimated worldwide, Hundreds of these species only exist in Costa Rica. Of the 500,000 species living in Costa Rica, about 300,000 are insects, and around 700 species of birds have been identified in Costa Rica.
Costa Rica also shelters many reptiles and amphibians, including the world's fastest running lizard, the spiny-tailed iguana (Ctenosaura similis). At the Corcovado National Park, all four Costa Rican monkey species can be found (the white-headed capuchin, the mantled howler, the endangered Geoffroy's spider monkey, and the Central American squirrel monkey), and a big variety of birds, reptiles, and turtles can be found at the Tortuguero National Park.