Nothing’s greener than a tree frog

Nothing’s greener than a tree frog – Photograph by Laura Lecce

These green tree frogs are the masters of camouflage. They look exactly the same color and shape as new mangrove leaves, which is exactly how I would want to look too if I lived in croc infested waters in Cairns, Australia. They’re actually quite chubby and large for a frog, growing to about 4.5 inches long (11.5 cm). They are a wonderful visitor to have in your garden if you are so lucky, as they eat cockroaches, locusts, moths and spiders. They are docile creatures who are relatively unafraid of humans, and so are commonly found hanging around outdoor lights waiting for approaching food. They are incredibly vocal using calls for mating, but will also scream when attacked by predators or squeak when poked. As cute as that may be, I do not encourage you to go around poking tree frogs as any toxins on your hand will get absorbed through their skin which is also how they absorb oxygen to breathe.

For other frog posts please click here.

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Reg-eyed tree frog

Red-eyed tree frog - Photograph by Laura Lecce
Red-eyed tree frog – Photograph by Laura Lecce

This glossy and colorful red-eyed tree frog lives in the jungle of Costa Rica. While visiting I attended a frog spotting tour which taught us how to listen for frog calls, spot the glistening eyes in our torch light and hopefully find the tiny frog making so much noise. It was harder than I thought! These frogs are very well camouflaged when they want to be. By tucking their orange toes under their belly and closing their eyes, the entire frog is as green as the leaf they’re sitting on. You can’t see it in this photo, but these frogs also have a fair bit of blue along the side of their body and upper arm which gets hidden when they tuck in their limbs. Their beautiful coloration and comical face makes them a very popular subject in animal photography. The bulging red eyes are great for startling predators who think they can make a meal out of a sleeping frog, and also signaling that this frog is not as tasty a meal as a predator might think. The eyes also help the frog swallow larger mouthfuls, this is done by pulling the eyes inwards which pushes the food down into their belly. I definitely had a great time observing some of the night activity that is usually only heard by humans.

For other posts from Costa Rica please click here.

Who Said Toads Were Ugly?

Golden Eyed Toad - Photograph by Laura Lecce
Golden Eyed Toad – Photograph by Laura Lecce

If you can find it in your heart to look beyond the belly fat and brown pimply skin you will see the golden glistening eyes of this glorious toad. Living in a luxurious resort in St Lucia, this toad was clearly the queen of this pond, each night posing proudly atop the lilies. St Lucia is one of the homes of the cane toad (Rhinella marina) also known as the giant neotropical toad. On average they grow to about 10-15cm (4-6 inches), but have been recorded as large as 38cm (15 inches) and weighing 2.65kg (5.8lb). This toad was introduced into northern Australia as a predator to combat the beetles which were eating sugar cane crops. This turned out to be a futile endeavor since the beetles kept to the top of the sugar canes and the toads have poor climbing skills, so instead the toads outcompete many Australian reptiles and frogs for food which is easier to access. So as beautiful as they may be under that brown pimply skin, they should have stayed at home.

Hiding in Plain Sight

Hiding in Plain Sight - Photograph by Laura Lecce
Hiding in Plain Sight – Photograph by Laura Lecce

If I were a bug and there were frogs around trying to make a meal out of me, between the eyes is exactly where I’d be sitting! When I was young I was painfully shy. I was strictly an observer who hated being observed and was mortified if anyone noticed I existed. I was so much happier being invisible but still wanted to be part of the action…exactly what this bug must be thinking. I eventually had the courage to leave that shy child behind and grow into a much more confident adult.