Saturday, June 13, 2009

Camera Critters 62

Camera Critters

It's Saturday and that means Camera Critters
and time for a behind the scenes tour
of the Reptile House at the Houston Zoo.

Here's the Limo waiting to take us behind the scenes.
Our two favorite ladies at the zoo -- Ginger and Lona.

Before we get to the Reptile House we make a quick stop to see the giraffes. The big, tall guy staring at us is Kiva. He sees the cart and thinks he's going to get a special treat. He watched us carefully to see where we were going.

Thai is the big guy, Asian elephant, in his hot tub!

You will see some hands in the photos. The hands above belong to Judith, our guide and one of the keepers of the Reptile House. She is holding an Eyelash Frog. If you look closely you can see the eyelashes!

The Solomon island eyelash frog is a moderately robust frog that hails from the Bougainville and Solomon Islands in the south Pacific. The species inhabits the forest floor and with its triangular head and “eyelashes” it is thought that they perhaps mimic leaves and rely upon camouflage to avoid predators and wait for prey. Eyelash frogs breed by direct development which means they lay eggs that have no tadpole stage. Instead, they larval amphibians completely undergo metamorphosis within the egg and hatch as tiny versions of the adults. Researches say that this frog is able to tolerate a wide range of different habitats, even popping up in people’s gardens. Likely as a consequence, it is fairly abundant throughout its range.

These are Tomato Frogs and it's easy to see where they got their name.

Range: Eastern coast of Madagascar (off the eastern coast of Africa)
Habitat: In and around shallow pools, marshes, drainage channels, flooded meadows
Conservation Status: Near threatened
Scientific Name: Dyscophus antongillii

Aptly named, this colorful species can be found peering out from under leaves and logs. The female is larger and a brighter red than the male, while babies are a dull brown. Although we associate frogs with water, this species is a poor swimmer. In fact, in captivity, special precautions are taken to keep the froglets from drowning as they develop from the tadpole stage.

This is the Giant Waxy Monkey Tree Frog.
(My hands.)

Class: Amphibia

Order: Anura

Scientific Name: Phyllomedusa bicolor

Range: Amazon Rain Forest Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Guianas, Guianian region of Venezuela

Habitat: Tree branches in the rain forest canopy, usually above water

Diet: Wild: This species is a carnivore. Primarily eats various insects and worms.
Zoo: Crickets, nightcrawlers, superworms, occasional 'pinky' mice and vitamins.

Gestation: Incubation: 7-10 days

Litter: Clutch size: up to 350 eggs

Life Span: 10 years (in captivity)

Description: Their bodies are bright green, with cream spots bordered in black along their sides, and a gray throat, chest and underside of legs. 'Waxy' refers to lipid secretions they spread over their bodies to prevent water loss. Also known as Monkey Tree Frog - 'monkey' refers to the opposable thumb they use to better grasp the branches they live among.

Behavior: Nocturnal. Walks or runs, rather than jumping, hand over hand through branches. Sleeps in the daytime high in the canopy. Easily seen in exhibit perched on vines.

Reproduction: At the height of the rainy season, males will call to attract females several miles away. If the female likes what she hears, she will spend up to an hour tracking him down. As they lay up to 350 eggs, their back feet cup the leaf edges together creating a funnel-shaped nest. Seven to 10 days later, the tadpoles hatch and fall into the water below.

* These frogs may be able to aid in the development of medications that would alleviate the symptoms of Alzheimer's, depression and other brain disorders.
* Many Amazonian people refer to this frog as 'sapo mono' which translates to monkey frog.

I loved this frog and watching him walk hand over hand -- very deliberate. His toes look like little suction cups. Because there is a pharmacologic interest in this frog, while there are lots of them right now, they are being caught and taken out of their native habitat.

This is part one. Part two next week!


Karen said...

I was thinking ..giraffes and elephants ...they're not reptiles !! And then I saw the frogs ... so all is well :-)

Very cool shots ... I the tomato frogs, very colourful !!

Teena in Toronto said...

I love the zoo!

I played too :)

Denise said...

These are wonderful photos, what a great tour you had. I enjoyed it too :) Thanks for stopping by, yep, I think I'll stick with the wildlife ;) Have a great weekend.

Sarah said...

Oh how get to hold them - I love handling reptiles - not at all like what people think. Lucky you!!!!
Wonderful pictures hon!! Can't wait to see part 2!!! Sarah

fishing guy said...

Thanks for sharing these neat captures of the animals and the frogs. Tomatoe Frogs!!!!!!! Oh my.

Staci said...

I love the zoo too! And I can't wait to see the rest of 'em.

i beati said...

formidable looking guy Mr. green Sandy

Maria-Thérèse said...

Hmm... I hope they're just investigating those medical frogs and then quickly creating artificial drugs that work...

The picture with the giraffes and the long stems is sooo funny!

Marie Reed said...

Wow! I'm going to run and tel my boys about the eyelash frog! We have an aquarium full of tadpoles now so we're frog crazy right now:) Cool!

Tina said...

the baby frog is so sweet and small!

Sue said...

Love the froggies! The Zoo is such a great place to visit :) Thanks for stopping by :)

Joy said...

Frogs are awesome. Those tomato frogs, wow! Never seen them before.

Indrani said...

He is so daring to hold them in hand, they must be harmless I guess.

The Bodhi Chicklet said...

That last frog looks so serious! I guess pharmacological stuff is serious business but what a shame they are being taken out of their habitat

April said...

The elephants are my favourite animals. This one looks very happy in his hot tub. Those are some amazing frogs, too. Cute pictures!

Ladynred said...

Those frogs are interesting critters!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic Camera Critters post & great photos

jabblog said...

Extraordinary photographs - such detail and colour - wonderful!

Julie said...

Wonderful shots, I love reptiles.

Bruce said...

Wow, I didn't know they made frogs in so many pretty colors!

Adrienne in Ohio said...

What an interesting educational post! The eyelash frog is fascinating!

Faye Pekas said...

I love the tomato frogs! Don't think they would go well in a sandwich though :)

My critter is here today:

Carletta said...

Great shots! From the long necked giraffe to the brightly colored tomato frogs - a lovely variety of critters and very informative.

My post is here: Carletta’s Captures.

2sweetnsaxy said...

Great shots and a fun post. :-) I'm not a big fan of frogs but they sure do some in some pretty colors, don't they?

Sharon said...

Nice photos! I usually skip the reptiles at the zoo because they don't interest me, but these frogs are beautiful!

Cezar and Léia said...

What a fabulous post and so interesting!
I loved all pictures but wowwwwwww these Tomato Frogs are really cute!I have never seen something like it in my whole life!
By the way...mommy loved the "limo"! LOL

purrs and love
Luna from Brazil

( and mommy Léia )

Oskar said...

I like those frogs & I wish I had a hot tub like the elephant!

storyteller said...

Kewl adventure ... beautifully shared! I do love giraffes and I luv Camera Critters ... so much so that I've participated three times this week. Just call me cRaZy. I've featured Molly at Happily Retired Gal and Ms Kitty at my 'other' blog ... and the three of us enjoying a lazy Sunday morning at Small Reflections … just because.
Hugs and blessings,

Pretty Things said...

I have to admit that frogs (real frogs, not the glass ones I collect!) creep me out -- and it's because of this ....

When I was a kid of 11 living in the middle of the rain forest of South America (on a missionary base), a HUGE toad, frog, swamp monster, who knows what, came lumbering out from under our washing machine, which was housed under an eave outside. It was as big as a cantaloupe. Freaked OUT!

Nikki said...

I love frogs!! And Zoo's! Great critters!

My Critters

lv2scpbk said...

Amazing animals and photos. Loved looking at them.