This blog was written by Chris Bednarski, a member of the Houston Zoo’s Herpetology Department. Chris received a Staff Conservation Fund grant from his coworkers at the Houston Zoo to carry out a wildlife-saving project for reptiles and amphibians in the Western Ghats region of India. We will be posting a series of blogs as Chris documents his work overseas.
Chris’s goal is to survey within a section of land purchased by the Tillari Biodiversity Research Trust and document what species are present, as well as discover new species and note their home ranges. These findings will help to strengthen the need to protect this land, and by protecting this land, we save species in the wild!
This was the last night of surveys for this trip and what a night it was!!! We decided to visit a stream we have passed a few times on this trip just to see what it looked like. We all kept pointing this stream out every time we drove by it, but for some reason or another never stopped to check it out. We parked our car on the side of the road and jumped down into the stream. From the first second I got down into the stream until the second I left the stream it was “frog-o-mania”! We saw so many frogs we were having a seriously hard time counting. We estimate we saw well over 1,000 frogs of at least 6 different species but probably more like 8-12 species. We found tadpoles and eggs of the Night frogs for the first time in our surveys. This stream had checkered keelback snakes, wolf snakes, Brook’s geckos and one Indian black turtle!!! I am a huge turtle nerd and finding a turtle on a night like this just puts the icing on the cake. If we were not having such a productive night I may have been far more nervous than I was – my nemesis was everywhere… the giant fishing spiders! With a leg span the size of a dinner plate and the ability to run across water, they make me a bit uneasy when walking forest streams at night. Thankfully I was too preoccupied with all the amazing amphibians.
I will be hopping onto my first flight around 4AM to come back home to Houston. I haven’t even left and I already miss being here. Good thing the team and I will probably be meeting back up in early March to continue our surveys!!! Until then, cheers.