Archive for the ‘Cat-eyed Snake’ Tag

The Savage Death of a Velvet Cat   2 comments


Philip Davison Nature Diaries. Bosque del Cabo Rain Forest Lodge.

Sunny Days are Back Again

The weather has most certainly turned a corner.  After the record-breaking deluge that occurred continually over the course of the last five weeks we now have the opposite situation, no rain.  Not a single drop of rain has fallen over the past week.  The skies have been clear and bright blue.  The sun has been shining brightly.  The temperatures are on the rise.  The night skies have been clear and filled with stars.  Just within the space of seven days, the formerly soft muddy trails have started to harden up.  There are, of course areas where the ground is stiff soft and in places water continues to run off but these are now few and far between.  One trail had a new lake form as the water was unable to run off.  Walking along a familiar path I was finding myself waist deep in water.  I imagined that this new water feature may persist for months before the ground was exposed once more.  I was wrong.  Walking the trail a few days ago, all the water had gone.  The path was very muddy but no longer submerged.

Bosque del Cabo Rain Forest Lodge. Osa Peninsula. Costa Rica.

Zapatero Trail at Bosque del Cabo Rain Forest Lodge.

It was fortunate that the heavy rain stopped as the flowering season for many of the trees commences in December.  Should the trees bloom and then become bombarded with persistent downpours, the flowers can be knocked from the trees before they have been pollinated.  The result of this is a lack of fruit later in the dry season as the plants have not set seed.  There are many animals whose lives depend on the bounteous supply of mixed fruits that comprise their diet that should the flowering and fruiting seasons fail then they simply starve to death.  This happened in 2005 when substantial numbers of Spider Monkeys and Toucans were, quite literally, just dropping out of the trees.  Necropsies carried out by veterinarians showed that they were suffering from very low body fat.  They were starving to death.  Everything looks good at the moment for a bumper harvest as I have seen many trees starting to produce blooms.

Golfo Dulce. Cabo Matapalo. Osa Peninsula. Costa Rica.

The Sun is Shining Over the Golfo Dulce Once More.

Caught in the Eye of a Cat

The frogs are still out in numbers but those numbers will start to dwindle as we head into the dry season.  There are creatures that feed on frogs and they too have been out and about at night, the snakes.  One of the commoner snakes around the pond after sunset is the Cat-eyed Snake, (Leptodeira septentrionalis).  It feeds on frogs at all stages of their life history.  More particularly it searches out clumps of Red-eyed Green Tree Frog eggs which it finds suspended beneath the leaves overhanging the water.  The gelatinous masses are stuck in position and when the tadpoles reach about 7 or 8 days in age, the jelly liquidizes allowing the tadpoles to drop into the water where they complete the initial stage of their life history before emerging as froglets.  Frogs eggs make a perfect meal for the snake, they don’t run away or fight back and are packed with protein.  At the height of the amphibian breeding season, May, June and July, there are so many egg masses that the snakes start to look well fed and bloated.  Now, because there is little amphibian reproduction taking place, the snakes also fish for the tadpoles from beneath the water surface, take froglets as the emerge from the water and if they get the opportunity they will eat the adults too.

Red-eyed Green Tree Frog.

Red-eyed Green Tree Frog, (Agalychnis callidryas)

Agalychnis callidryas eggs

Red-eyed Green Tree Frog Eggs

Cat-eyed Snake

Cat-eyed Snake, (Leptodeira septentrionalis)

Leptodeira septentrionalis

Cat-eyed Snake. Close up.

The Fatal Velvet Kiss

Whereas the Cat-eyed Snakes feed on the smaller frogs, there is a much larger snake which feeds on the larger frogs.  One of the largest frogs in Costa Rica is the Savage’s Thin-fingered Frog, (Leptodactylus savagei).  A huge amphibian might make a satisfying for meal for any number of creatures.  To lower the risk of being predated upon Savage’s Thin-fingered Frog has several defenses.  It has a toxic skin secretion that can cause intense irritation of mucus membranes.  Should this prove ineffective it has a secondary defensive measure.  When it is caught, it issues a loud cry not dissimilar to a crying baby.  More importantly the call resembles the distress call of young caiman.  If there any adult female caiman in the area they charge in to defend their young, which means hopefully as far as the frog is concerned, it can then make its escape as its attacker is attacked.

Savage's Thin-fingered Frog

Savage’s Thin-fingered Frog, (Leptodactylus savagei)

But there are predators from which there is generally no escape.  It is not uncommon to see by the pond at night some substantially large sized Terciopelos, (Bothrops asper).  They are large pit-vipers in the same subfamily as rattlesnakes.  Like rattlesnakes they have a venomous bite that spells certain death for any prey victim it strikes.  An adult female can reach up to 6 feet, (2 meters), in length.  A snake that size demands a big meal and the Savage’s Thin-fingered Frog fits the bill.

Once the sun sets out come the Terciopelos.  They place themselves around the pond where an encounter with a frog is likely.  They are ambush predators; the cryptic coloration of muted browns and greys camouflage them perfectly against the background.  They remain motionless, camouflage works best if it is still.  Frogs, being mostly nocturnal, have large light gathering eyes.  They rely on movement to find food which is usually anything smaller than themselves, particularly arthropods, but sometimes smaller frogs too.  But the only movement they will detect from a hungry coiled Terciopelo will be one that is over in a flash.

Terciopelo. Crotalinae.

Terciopelo, (Bothrops asper)

The pit-viper is not so visually acute especially at night although its eyes will detect close movement.  Once the feeding response has been stimulated then the tongue comes into play, slowly flicking out then in again, each time tasting the air.  The tongue can detect parts per million of scent particles in the air and because it is forked it can pick up the gradient of a scent plume.  You and I may not know what a frog smells like but the snake does.  Then there are the pits that give it the sinister name pit viper.  These lie one on either side of the head between the eye and the nostril.  They are lined with cells that detect minute differences in background infra-red radiation.  They work best at responding to the presence of warm blooded prey such as rodents but their efficiency could also differentiate the small difference in body heat of even a cold-blooded creature such as a frog against the background temperature.

The unsuspecting frog passes by.  The snake has already drawn its head and neck into tightly sprung S-shaped.  The strike happened so fast that it would probably have been unaware, there would have been no time to react, no chance of escape.  As the snake’s head shoots forward and the jaws open, two long hinged fangs that lie flat against the upper part of the mouth now swing down.  They are simply two hypodermic syringes attached to glands that contain virulent life-ending cytotoxic venom.  The fangs puncture the skin like two needles, the force of the bite pushes them deep into internal tissues and organs.  The snake quickly recoils to avoid any retaliatory action by the victim in its final moments, not that a frog could inflict any damage but the bite of a rodent might.  The quantity of venom injected will spell doom and instant death for the unfortunate amphibian.  It probably would not feel anything from this lethal injection, the effects of which would most certainly be instantaneous.

The frog takes one or two steps forward then collapses dead in its tracks.  The snake is in no hurry.  The meal is ready whenever it would care to dine.  Lying patiently in the shadows the Terciopelo begins to smell the air with its tongue once more.  Once it is feels secure in the demise of its victim it slips forward, the tongue constantly flicking in and out over the cadaver.  It is searching for the head.  Snakes have no way of rendering a meal into small pieces and must swallow the prey whole.  Savage’s Thin-fingered Frog is a giant among amphibians, its body larger than the snakes head.  To deal with this inconvenience the snakes lower jaw disengages at the midpoint as do the upper and lower jaws where they hinge together at the side of the head.  Now the snakes gape can accommodate the huge frog body.  The snakes skin is highly elastic allowing it to stretch as it moves forward over the meal and with continuous backward moving S-shaped waves the feast is delivered finally to the stomach.  The snake moves away back into the shadow of the undergrowth where it will lie motionless for some time until it has digested the hearty dinner.

Terciopelo. Leptodactylus savagei

Terciopelo eating a Savage’s Thin-fingered Frog

Payback Time

There are times when even the top predators can become prey.  Where there are snakes then there might be snakes that eat snakes.  Sure enough on occasion by the pond where the Terciopelos lie in wait there is a hunter that actively seeks them out.  A hunter that is immune to the deadly venom.  A hunter that can overpower with impunity its adversary.  That hunter is the Mussurana, (Clelia Clelia)..

The Mussurana is a snake with a solidly muscled body.  It has a beautiful deep gloss grey color which radiates a fabulous deep blue iridescence.  The underside is a soft eggshell cream.  It is a powerful constrictor.  The teeth at the back of the jaws are strong and allow it to hold onto its writhing victim while it throws around it those ever-tightening coils.  This is a non-contest, the Terciopelo has little or no chance.  Finally, it succumbs and expires.  The hunter has become the hunted and the frogs have one less problem in their territory.

Mussurana.

Mussurana, (Clelia clelia)

Philip Davison is a Biologist, Writer and Photographer Based In Costa Rica

Advertisements

Snaking Through Colorful Shrubs   2 comments


Felipe del Bosque Blog September 9nd 2013

title copy

Light and Dark and Wet and Dry

The weather seems to be holding out.  As yet the really torrential rain has not arrived.  Normally by mid September the rains starts to fall continuously.  Up to, and including this week, we have had a continuation of that same pattern of nice bright sunny days and a small amount of rain falling at night.  The end of the week was particularly good for visitors with clear blue skies and bright sun which warmed things up and made for good hiking conditions.

Catastrophe

Once again the cats have refused to bless us with their presence this week.  In fact it appears to have been a relatively quiet week on the Titi Trail, with only the Collared Peccaries, (Tayassu tajacu), and Agoutis, (Dasyprocta punctata), making their daily appearances.  The occasional Paca, (Agouti paca), Nine-banded Armadillo, (Dasypus novencinctus), and Common Opossum, (Didelphis marsupialis), wandered by but that was about all.

Nine-banded Armadillo

Snakes and Ladders

Snakes are never the easiest things to find.  That may come as good news to many people but there are those who come to the tropics with the sole purpose of seeing snakes.  They have read the guide books that are lavishly illustrated with photographs of many exotic serpentine forms.  There are stories of huge man-eating constrictors, of deadly venomous snakes, the bite of any one species spelling instant death for the unfortunate victim.  They come brandishing grab sticks and snake hooks ready to participate in a luxury of dream fulfillment.  Off they go into the forest grinning from ear to ear in eager anticipation of a day crammed with new discovery only to return with the setting sun deflated and disenchanted.  Maybe after sunset when the forests are dark the snakes will come out.  Hopes renewed, vigor restored off they go again but arrive back some hours later with the same loss of optimism.  Truth to tell there are snakes during the day, there are snakes at night, there are snakes in the trees, there are snakes on the ground, in fact there are snakes everywhere all the time, it is finding them that can be such a thankless task.

Boa constrictor

Two of the commonly encountered snakes around the lodge are the boas, (Boa constrictor), and Cat-eyed Snakes, (Leptodeira septentrionalis).  The boas generally are found in very close proximity to the kitchen/restaurant area.  Wherever there are people there is food.  Wherever there is food there are rodents.  Wherever there are rodents there are snakes.  Most the boas that turn up in the restaurant area are smallish, about 3 feet or so in length.  They sometimes insert themselves in the thatched roofing for a period of several days.  Occasionally they can be found in the lawns or the bushes and trees in the garden at the front of the restaurant.  That is what happened this week, this particular individual was seen at different locations at different times around the garden.  It first turned up in the bar, then it was found at the base of a tree behind the bar.  A few nights later it was encountered after dinner crossing the lawn in front of the bar and finally it settled into one of the bushes at the side of a path between the bar and the cabins.

Boa constrictor

As I have already stated, finding snakes is never an easy task but there are occasionally those who throughout their travels in Costa Rica haven’t come across one but would like to see one.  In that case I always suggest going out with me at night because as much of a guarantee as I can offer I do generally find snakes in a certain location once the sun has gone down.

The Bosque pond for many years has been the breeding area for many amphibians.  The pond is manmade and was originally put in as a decorative feature.  Initially it only had one plant of any size growing behind it but over the years, with the exclusion of the over enthusiastic gardening team, a lot of vegetation has proliferated forming a green wall around the back and to the two sides of the pond.  This in turn has resulted in the arrival and building of amphibian populations that require still water to reproduce.  In the beginning a few individuals of a few species arrived to take advantage of the newly formed habitat.  Progressively this was added to as more and more species arrived and their numbers began to build.

Cat-eyed Snake

Frogs and frogs eggs in abundance, particularly during the main amphibian breeding season of June, July and August would naturally attract the attention of those creatures that feed on such things.  That is exactly what happened.  One of the principal predators of frogs and their eggs are Cat-eyed Snakes.  During the amphibian breeding season they can sometimes be seen in numbers of up to 50 individuals cruising over the vegetation with their heads underneath the leaves assiduously searching in particular for the eggs of the Red-eyed Green Tree Frog, (Agalychnis callidryas).

Red-eyed Green Tree Frog Eggs

Red-eyed Green Tree Frogs lay a gelatinous mass of approximately 50 eggs on the underside of the leaves overhanging the water.  The eggs develop until about 7-8 days, the egg mass then liquidizes and the now developed tadpoles wriggle free and drop into the water where they will develop and grow before emerging as tiny froglets some 6 weeks later.

For a snake feeding on frogs eggs this represents the perfect food package, a high protein diet that neither fights back nor runs away.  At the height of the amphibian breeding season the vegetation around the pond can sometimes seem to be a living sea of snakes.  Even during the dry season when the amphibian numbers have reduced to only 1 or 2 a night, the snakes can still be found searching for a meal.  At that time of year they are normally found around the pond edge waiting patiently for the froglets to emerge or even with their heads beneath the surface of the water fishing for the tadpoles.

The Cat-eyed Snakes are venomous but rear fanged which means they have to hold and chew the venom into the prey.  The venom is about as toxic as required to subdue a frog.  Also they are not inclined to bite so they pose no danger to anyone getting close to take a photo.

Occasionally one of the less frequently seen snakes will turn up.  This week I had a Barred Forest Racer, (Dendrophidion percarinatum), cross my path.  These are active non-venomous diurnal hunters and as the common name suggests they move very quickly.  They have large eyes and hunt with the head held high above the ground.  Any lizard or frog that makes a movement close to them has usually guaranteed its own demise. In a flash the snake will have caught and constricted its prey.  With the frogs, they quite often consume the unfortunate individual alive.

Barred Forest Racer

Philip is a biologist, writer and photographer as well as the onsite naturalist guide at Bosque del Cabo Rainforest lodge on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.

www.bosquedelcabo.com

Photo Feature

Little and Large

The grounds of Bosque del Cabo are not only filled with exotic tropical trees and palms but they also contain a rich variety of shrubby plants too.  Many of them are grown for their decorative foliage rather than their showy blooms.  A lot of the plants will be familiar to our guests as they are also commonly kept indoors as house plants at higher latitudes.

One plant that can be seen growing in forms both native and exotic is the Dumb Cane, (Dieffenbachia spp).  The plant with the uniform green leaves seen growing in the forest is Dieffenbachia oerstedii.  It can be found the tropical forests of Central and South America.  The variegated leaf variety seen in the grounds is a cultivated form.  The plant is deadly poisonous.  The leaves contain crystals of calcium oxalate which certainly don’t do your kidneys any good.  It is called Dumb Cane because if ingested any part of the plant will cause the tongue and mucous membranes to swell stopping you from talking, (hence Dumb Cane), and sometimes choking and killing the unfortunate consumer.  It is therefore not the best plant to have in your house if you have pets or young children that like to chew on leaves.  But you can walk into most of your high street plant stores and then out through the check-out with something in your hands that won’t do you a great deal of good.

Dieffenbachia cultivar

There are very few animals that will eat Dumb Cane.  There is one  though that does relish its fleshy leaves and stalks, the peccaries.  Somehow the peccaries have evolved a metabolism that  detoxifies the plant.  In the forests of Bosque you will quite often see the leaves shredded and torn, the ground around the plants well churned up by peccary activity.  As the plant can regenerate and grow from stem cuttings, this activity propagates yet more Dumb Cane growth.

The plant is which the Boa constrictor took refuge was another that is not so hard to identify.  The leaves are long, thin and pointed like a stiletto.  The plant has an overall warm tinge to it as each of the leaves are edged in red.  These are the Dracaena plants.

Dracaeana variegata tricolor

One of the plants found lining the paths at the lodge as well as forming hedges and also easy to distinguish due to the various colors and spotty patterns to the leaves are the Crotons (Codiaeum variegatum).  They are not native to Costa Rica, their origins being in South East Asia.  Again they are a commonly available house plant.  They should not be confused with a whole collection of plants of the genus Croton which are native to Central America but bear little resemblance to the Codiaeum despite the fact that both genera belong in the same family: Euphorbiaceae.

Codiaeum variegatum         Croton         Codiaeum variegatum

One of the reasons that the Crotons are so popular is the huge variety of colors and patterns produced by the decorative leaves.  There are over 100 different recognized cultivars.  Reds, yellows and greens in patches, splotches or spots create colorful hedges.  One of the commoner plant diseases is chlorosis whereby the leaves loose the chlorophyll and end up with lots of yellow spots.  It is thought that the Crotons mimic this with their coloration thereby looking diseased and consequently less appetizing to a herbivore.  If the mimicking of plant disease does not put off an animal from eating the plant then it has a backup plan, it contains a toxic sap which is poisonous if ingested and can also cause eczema if it comes in contact with the skin.

Not far from the Bosque restaurant, on the main driveway, is a huge vine climbing a beautiful big Guapinol Tree.  The vines leaves are enormous in size and a deep glossy green in color.  But the most distinguishing feature of these leaves are the characteristic perforations.

Monstera deliciosa

The vine is another commonly grown houseplant.  Most people would be familiar with it under a variety of names; Split-leaf Philodendron, Swiss Cheese Plant and Monstera.  This is Monstera deliciosa, Family: Araceae, the same family as the philodendrons.  The beautiful big split leaves are a typical feature of many an office environment.  It is a plant native to Costa Rica, growing as an epiphyte on the trunks of rainforest trees.  The leaves start off in low light conditions at the base of the trees as small overlapping shingles.   As the plant winds its way up into the canopy where the light levels increase the leaves take on the long stalked, broad form.

Swiss Cheese Plant

Why are they full of splits and holes?  The theory is that the plant is mimicking plant damage.  Any herbivore would not select to feed on a leaf that is smashed, bashed and has all the appearance of having already been eaten when there is so much young fresh leaf available in the near vicinity.  If that doesn’t work, like so many plants in the same family the leaves contain more of those toxic crystals of Calcium Oxalate.

The name deliciosa derives from the fact that the fruit of the plant, which takes up to a year to ripen is just that, having the delicious flavor of mixed banana and pineapple.  But beware, the unripe fruits are as toxic as the leaves and even the ripe fruit can cause a reaction in certain people.

Text and Photographs are taken from the forthcoming book:

The Natural History of Bosque del Cabo by Philip Davison

Temperature and Rainfall

Average Daily Rainfall 0.40 ins.  Total Weekly Rainfall 2.82 ins

Average Daily Rainfall 10.2 mm.  Total Weekly Rainfall 71.6 mm

Highest Daily Temp 89°F.  Lowest Daily Temp 73°F.

Highest Daily Temp 31.7°C.  Lowest Daily Temp 22.8°C.

Species List for the Week

Mammals

  • Central American Squirrel Monkey
  • Mantled Howler Monkey
  • Spider Monkey
  • White-faced Capuchin Monkey
  • Common Tent-making Bat
  • Western Red Bat
  • Northern Raccoon
  • White-nosed Coati
  • Agouti
  • Paca
  • Vesper Rat
  • Nine-banded Armadillo
  • Common Opossum
  • Collared Peccary

Birds

  • Mealy Amazon
  • Orange-chinned Parakeets
  • Red-lored Amazon
  • Scarlet Macaw
  • Grey-necked WoodRail
  • Great Curassow
  • Pale-billed Woodpecker
  • Black-hooded Antshrike
  • Chestnut-backed Antbird
  • Short-billed Pigeon
  • White-tipped Dove
  • Long-billed Hermit
  • Crested Owl
  • Red-capped Manakin
  • Chestnut-mandibled Toucan
  • Bright-rumped Atilla
  • Great Kiskadee
  • Great Tinamou
  • Black-throated Trogon
  • Black Vulture
  • Turkey Vulture

Reptiles

  • Barred Forest Racer
  • Basilisk
  • Boa Constrictor
  • Cat-eyed Snake
  • Central America Smooth Gecko
  • Clawless Gecko
  • Golfo Dulce Anolis
  • Litter Skink
  • Mediterranean House Gecko
  • Pug-nosed Anole
  • Tropical Bird-eating Snake

Amphibians

  • Banana Frog
  • Black and Green Poison Arrow Frog
  • Fitzinger’s Rain Frog
  • Gladiator Frog
  • Marine Toad
  • Red-eyed Green Tree Frog
  • Savage’s Thin-fingered Frog
  • Small-headed Frog
  • Tink Frog

Butterflies

  • Anartia fatima
  • Dione juno
  • Eueides lybia
  • Glutophrissa drusilla
  • Heliconius erato
  • Heliconius hecale
  • Heliconius ismenius
  • Heliconius sapo
  • Hermeuptychia hermes
  • Mechanitis polymnia
  • Morpho helenor
  • Morpho menelaus
  • Phoebis sennae
  • Pierella helvina
  • Pierella luna
  • Polites vibex
  • Pyrgus oileus
  • Urbanus simplicius

Plants

  • Alamandra  cathartica Flowering
  • Alpinia purpurata Flowering
  • Apeiba tibourbou Flowering
  • Arachis pintoi Flowering
  • Cascabella thevetia Flowering and Fruiting
  • Citrus spp  Fruiting
  • Clusia rosea Flowering
  • Cocos nucifera Flowering and Fruiting
  • Costus speciosus Flowering
  • Cresentia alata Flowering and Fruitin
  • Dypsis lutescens Flowering and Fruiting
  • Fius citrifolia Fruiting
  • Ficus insipida Fruiting
  • Guaterria amplifolia Flowering
  • Heliconia chartacea Flowering
  • Heliconia latispatha Flowering
  • Heliconia pogonantha Flowering
  • Heliconia psittacorum Flowering
  • Heliconia rostrata Flowering
  • Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Flowering
  • Hymenaea coubaril Fruiting
  • Hymenocallis littoralis Flowering
  • Heisteria acuminata Flowering
  • Ixora coccinea Flowering
  • Lantana camara Flowering and Flowering
  • Musa acuminata Flowering and Fruiting
  • Plumeria rubra Flowering
  • Psychotria sp Fruiting
  • Spondias mombin Fruiting
  • Symphonia globulifera Fruiting
  • Zammia sp Flowering

It Sounds Like Fishing For Fruit   4 comments


Felipe del Bosque Blog April 23rd  2012

Wet’n Dry

The weather this week has been more or less as the week before.  There has been some rainfall but not a lot and the rain that we have had has been interspersed between days of clear skies and sunny conditions.  In fact the sunny conditions prevailed as the week progressed.

One unusual feature that seems to accompany the start of the rainy season is the water in the creeks, which at this time of year is already at a low level, suddenly drops as the rains begin. This would seem to be counter intuitive; more water falling from the sky you might think would then finds its way into the creeks and consequently the levels rise.  My theory, and I would stand to be corrected on this point by any hydrologist, (I would dearly love to hear from a hydrologist on this point is one is reading), is that the initial rains soak only the top levels of the soil.  If it only rains for a few days followed by dry days then the high temperatures and dry atmosphere might cause increased evaporation at the top soil level resulting in water being drawn up from lower levels by suction and capillary action reducing the amount percolating into the creeks through the springs.  This is just an idea not necessarily a fact, I have to do some more research on this one.  But the fact remains, the rains have started and the creek levels have dropped.

Gone Fishing

One night when I had no takers for the night tour, I decided to go to the pond alone and try to photograph some of the amphibians.  While I was looking for some suitably placed subjects, I noticed a single Cat-eyed Snake, (Leptodeira septentrionalis), sitting on the rocky edging to the pond.  I usually try to get pictures of the head and front end of snakes as being rather linear animals is not easy to get them all in the frame unless you are stood some way back.  This individual was in a semi curled position so I thought I could get some close pictures of all the body.

         Cat-eyed Snake         Cat-eyed Snake

As I set up the camera, the snake slipped over the edge, head down with its tongue constantly flicking in and out, searching the surface of the water.  Lying just beneath the surface were hundreds of Milky Frog tadpoles resulting from the adults that had emerged en masse, paired up and spawned on the first evening of rain a week or so earlier.  The eggs had hatched within two days and now, no more than two weeks later, the tadpoles had started to grown legs.

It was the seething mass of tadpoles that was attracting the attention of the snake.  Cat-eyed Snakes can be seen throughout the year in greater or lesser numbers, (greater during the height of the amphibian breeding season, June – August).  They are specialist feeders on frogs and frog eggs, but tadpoles will make an acceptable substitute when the other options are not readily available, such as now at the back end of the dry season.

Cat-eyed Snake         Red-eyed Green Tree Frog Eggs         Cat-eyed Snake

The snake would approach the water, about 6 inches below the pond edge.  The seething and shimmering mass of tadpoles were lying on the tops of water plant leaves directly below the surface.  It was the movement of the plants that was attracting the snake’s attention.  The fishing could not have been simpler.  Open mouthed the snake simply had to strike out a few millimeters in front of it and a snack would be obtained.

Cat-eyed Snake

Following the consumption of each and every tadpole caught, the snake would withdraw on to the flat rock edge and rest for a couple of minutes before eating again.  There weren’t just tadpoles, it was readily devouring the small froglets that had emerged from the water and were sitting on the Water Lettuce above the surface.

Cat-eyed Snakes are nocturnal snakes with large eyes that have vertical pupils that look just like the eyes of a cat which give the snake its name.  During the height of the amphibian breeding season they can be seen in numbers sometimes in the region of 40 or 50 at the back of the pond, moving over the vegetation but with their heads underneath looking for the eggs of the Red-eyed Green Tree Frogs.  Frogs eggs are a perfect protein packed meal which neither fights back nor runs away.

The Cat-eyed Snakes are venomous but they are rear fanged and the venom has the potency to kill little more than a frog.  They are not inclined to bite so pose no danger to visitors to the lodge.  I sat watching and photographing this individual for about 45 minutes and then left to let it continue its amphibian rich banquet.

Philip is a biologist, writer and photographer as well as the onsite naturalist guide at Bosque del Cabo Rainforest lodge on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.

www.bosquedelcabo.com

Photo Feature

Batman

While out on a tour through the forest, one of the guests with me noticed what she thought might be a bat hanging from a small fallen branch close to the ground.  Closer inspection through my binoculars revealed that she was in fact correct, it was indeed a solitary bat roosting out in the open a couple of inches from the ground.

Short-tailed Fruit Bat

Costa Rica is a very small country, about the size of West Virginia.  On the mainland United States there are 44 species of bat, which without exception are all insectivorous.  Costa Rica has probably 111 species of bat of which 80 species are estimated to live on the Osa Peninsula.  Here we have insectivorous, nectar feeding, fruit eating, carnivorous, fishing and blood feeding bats.

Short-tailed Fruit Bat

Bats are the second most diverse order of mammals after the rodents, but inversely to rodents, there are more species of bats in the tropics and more species of rodents at higher latitudes.  Costa Rica is only 0.03% of the land surface of the earth but contains 12% the total bat diversity of the earth so it is a very special country as far as bats are concerned.

Short-tailed Fruit Bat

The way the bat we were looking at was hanging made it difficult to identify any further than family.  I could see it was one of the Leaf-nosed Bats, family, Phyllostomidae.  We continued walking but I had the intention of returning after the tour with a camera to try and get some closer photographs.

Short-tailed Fruit Bat

When I returned from the tour, I quickly ate lunch and then headed back out with the camera to get the photos of the bat.  It was still in the same position at the same location, suspended from a small dry twig, on top of a live Leaf-cutter Ant nest surrounded by fallen branches.  I could get a picture from some distance, but to try and identify the bat I needed to get close.

I shot a few exposures from about 6 feet away, then progressively made my around 360° trying to obtain images from all angles.  Then I moved in closer, gently removing some of the branches that were in front of the non moving creature obscuring a clear image.  Eventually I had to lie down on the ant nest to get the profile close up of the head.  This final action drew the wrath of the Leaf-cutter soldiers who commenced carving through my flesh and drawing blood.  Needless to say, I took the photos as quickly as I possibly could.

When I returned to my cabin it was time to identify the bat and that is no easy task.  Several distinguishing features allowed me to get to the family.  The most obvious was the distinct nose leaf that I could clearly see in that profile shot that had been so painfully acquired.  This puts the bat in the family Phyllostomatidae which translates more or less literally from the Greek into “leaf opening”.  I could also see the bat had a small, almost indiscernible tail which put it in the family Carollinae – the Short-tailed Fruit Bats.

Now came the hard part, identifying the species.  One of the photographs I had taken of the ventral side, nicely revealed under the chin a central wart with a series of smaller warts lining the underside of the jaw.  So now I knew I had an individual in the genus Carollia  but that is as far as I could get.  To identify the bat to species would require me blowing on the fur to observe the depth of agouti, (the depth of gray layering in the fur) and I would also need to see the dentition.

All of the bats in the Americas are of the suborder Microchiroptera which literally means “Small Hand Wing”.  The hand of the bat is highly modified with the digits creating a specialized frame supporting an elastic membrane which forms a wing thereby transforming the bat into the only mammal which can truly fly.

As opposed to common folklore which has bats as blind, they are not, they have very good eyesight especially in low light conditions.  As well as having very good eyesight, all of the Microchiroptera use echolocation or SONAR to find their way around at night.  Some bats emit the pulse of sound through the mouth but the Phyllostomatidae emit the sound through the nose.  The specially modified flap of skin that forms the nose leaf is thought to direct the sound.

If the nose of the bat is a highly modified transmitter of sound, the ears are equally highly modified receivers of the reflected sound.  Due to the fact that air does not transmit sound very well the energy that the bat has to put into each pulse of sound to make it effective is the equivalent for the bat of listening to a jet engine, it would deafen itself.  The structure of the ear is such that whenever a pulse is emitted, the muscles in the ear close it for a microsecond and open again to receive the echo.

As may be expected, the Short-tailed Fruit Bats are fruit eaters.  They consume a variety of fruit, the structure of which can be distinguished by echo location.  There are a variety of fruit eating bats in Costa Rica and each species tends to favor a certain type of fruit.  It has been shown the preferred fruit of the Short-tailed Fruit Bats are the low growing Pipers, (related to peppers), many species of which are commonly found throughout the Neotropical forests.

One feature revealed in the photographs that is not commonly considered with the bats is a modification in the placement of the legs which allows them to hand upside down; the legs are back to front. The knees and feet face backwards to that the toes can hook of a twig or projection.  The weight of the body pulls down on a tendon which locks the toes into position so that the bat does not have to expend any muscular energy into holding on, it is gravity that does all the work.  When the bat wants to fly, is simply lets go with its toes, opens its wings and it departs into the night.

Text and Photographs are taken from the forthcoming book:

The Natural History of Bosque del Cabo by Philip Davison

Temperature and Rainfall

Average Daily Rainfall 0.04 ins.  Total Weekly Rainfall 0.27 ins

Average Daily Rainfall 1.00 mm.  Total Weekly Rainfall 6.90 mm

Species List for the Week

Mammals

  • Howler Monkey
  • Spider Monkey
  • Capuchin Monkey
  • Agouti
  • Red-tailed Squirrel

 

Birds

 

  • Red-lored Amazons
  • Scarlet Macaws
  • Great Currasow
  • Crested Caracara
  • Lineated Woodpecker
  • Chestnut-backed Antbird
  • Common Paureque
  • Short-billed Pigeon
  • White-tipped Dove
  • Rufus Piha
  • Blue-crowned Manakin
  • Red-capped Manakin
  • Fiery-billed Aracari
  • Chestnut-mandibled Toucan
  • Cherrie’s Tanager
  • Bright-rumped Atilla
  • Golden-crowned Spadebill
  • Buff-rumped Warbler
  • Great Tinamou
  • Riverside Wren
  • Black-throated Trogon
  • Black Vulture
  • Turkey Vulture

 

Reptiles

 

  • Barred Ameiva
  • Barred Forest Racer
  • Central American Whiptail
  • Common Basilisk
  • Five-lined Ameiva
  • Clawless Gecko
  • Golfo Dulce Anolis
  • Green Iguana
  • Northern Cat-eyed Snake
  • Salmon-bellied Racer
  • Terciopelo

 

Amphibians

 

  • Banana Frog
  • Black and Green Poison Arrow Frog
  • Golfo Dulce Poison Arrow Frog
  • Marine Toad
  • Masked Smilisca
  • Milky Frog
  • Red-eyed Green Tree Frog
  • Smokey Jungle Frog

 

Butterflies

 

  • Arawacus lincoides
  • Archaeoprepona demophon
  • Caligo atreus
  • Calycopis isobeon
  • Dryas iulia
  • Eurema daira
  • Eueides lybia
  • Glutophrissa Drusilla
  • Heliconius cydno
  • Heliconius erato
  • Heliconius ismenius
  • Heliconius sapho
  • Heraclides cresphontes
  • Mechanitis polymnia
  • Metacharis victrix
  • Morpho helenor
  • Morpho Menelaus
  • Philaetria dido

 

Plants

 

  • Bamboo Orchid Flowering
  • Black Alligator Tree Flowering and Fruiting
  • Calabash flowering and fruiting
  • Cannonball Tree Flowering and Fruiting
  • Cashew Flowering and Fruiting
  • Clusia rosea Flowering and Fruiting
  • Hog Plum Flowering
  • May Tree Flowering
  • Monkey Comb Tree Flowering and Fruiting
  • Mountain Rose Flowering
  • Passion Vine Flowering and Fruiting
  • Stinky Toe Fruiting

 

Galling Tales From Under a Tent   Leave a comment


Felipe del Bosque Blog February 20th 2012

Baked Earth

The weather conditions, as would be expected at this time of year, continue to be hot and dry.  There have been some nights with cloud and one brief sprinkling of rain but it would be a surprise if we ended up with any measurable precipitation.  The days are clear and sunny with the temperatures constantly in the upper 90’s.

The trails through the forests are now rock hard and starting to crack up as they lose moisture at deeper levels.

Return to Camp

The Puma sightings continue all around the grounds of Bosque.  Last week a group of four friends videoed the resident half-tailed female as she walked nonchalantly past their house.  Several days later another couple found a male Puma lying asleep on the Titi Trail.  It proved too much of a perfect subject and they obtained a really nice picture.  One of our staff was busy washing her hands early one morning when she saw a male Puma walk in front of her.  She followed it shoeless and hands covered in soap along a forest trail before it left the path and headed into the forest.  Two more guests were out on an early morning walk before leaving the lodge when they saw a Puma heading down on the trail towards the suspension bridge.

Over recent weeks, the Tent-making Bats, (Uroderma bilobatum), have been finding their way back under the leaves of some of the palms near the restaurant.  The bats used the leaves every night for the first eight years of my residence here but for the next four years used the same roosts less and less, eventually stopping altogether, only making occasional returns.

Tent-making Bats

One night while out on a Sunset Tour, we had a Kinkajou, (Poto flavus), walk across the path in front of us, go to the edge of the pond and start to drink.  It is very rare to see a Kinkajou on the ground but the exceedingly dry conditions must have forced this one from the trees to get a drink.  Kinkajous are nocturnal arboreal feeders on flowers but they may also take nectar, insects and lizards.  They have a very low muscle mass and so sometimes may seem emaciated.  As this one leant forward to drink, the specialized limbs which can rotate 180° could clearly be seen with rear toes facing backwards to hold the pond edge.

Kinkajou

New Nests

The bird nesting season is well under way.  For several weeks now three pairs of Great Kiskadees have made nests around the restaurant garden area.  One of them is very obvious in the fork of a large Guanacaste tree.  In the forest there are several Scarlet Macaw, (Ara macaw), and Chestnut-mandibled Toucan, (Ramphastos swainsoni), nests.  The toucans and macaws are both cavity nesters that utilize holes in trees well above ground level but you can see them coming and going, disappearing inside the tree before emerging sometime later.  There is also a nest of a Purple-crowned Fairy Hummingbird, (Heliothryx barotti), sitting precariously on top of a leaf belonging to one of the broader leafed plants not too far from the restaurant.  At the moment it contains one jelly bean sized white egg.

There was a new first for me this week with the spotting of a Hook-billed Kite, (Chondrohierax uncinatus), during the course of a morning Primary Forest Tour on the Zapatero Trail.  I saw the bird fly through the trees and land on a branch some distance away.  These kites are normally found in forests near water feeding on lizards and snails.  We don’t have a high abundance of snails at Bosque but we certainly have many lizards.

One Year On

One of the Green Iguanas, (Iguana iguana), hatched last year has taken to sleeping nightly in some of the bushes by the pond.  It still sports the bright green coloration of a juvenile but is now twice the hatchling length.  We see the newly hatched iguanas around May and June but don’t often see the adults which tend to frequent the higher levels of trees.  The adults can reach 5 or 6 feet in length, are darker in color and the diet changes from insectivorous to more herbivorous with age.

Green Iguana

I have seen a few young Central American Smooth Geckoes, (Thecadactylus rapicauda), on the walls of several Bosque buildings.  Last week I also found the egg of a Mediterranean House Gecko, (Hemidactylus frenatus), in a tiny cavity low down in a Star Fruit Tree.

One night a young Boa Constrictor, (Boa constrictor), turned up, crossing the floor of the bar as the guests were eating in the restaurant.  Down by the pond the Cat-eyed Snakes, (Leptodeira septentrionalis), are still out but only two or three a night rather than the large numbers we find during the wet season when their main food source, frogs and frog eggs are available in abundance.

Boa constrictor

Cat-eyed Snake

This week on the Zapatero Trail we found a large Tropical Bird-eating Snake, (Pseustes poecilinotus), lying across the path.  As we approached it gave a display that nicely illustrates its other names; the Hissing or Puffing Snake.  It spreads its neck laterally giving itself a larger profile while at the same time expelling air through its glottis making a deep and intimidating hissing sound.  It is, in fact, a totally harmless but is inclined to bite and repeatedly so.

Tropical Bird-eating Snake

Wet Behind The Ears

Something stimulated the Smokey Jungle Frogs, (Leptodactylus savegei), into breeding action this week.  Two males could be heard calling in different locations.  The following evening, two females had joined the company of one of the males at the pond.

Smokey Jungle Frog

For several weeks a single male Banana Frog, (Dendropsophus ebreccatus), would emerge from the shade when the sun set and sit on top of the Water Hyacinth calling forlornly for a mate.  None came and one night the male disappeared.  The hungry Cat-eyed Snakes probably found him while patrolling the pond for froglets emerging from the water and he most likely ended up in one of their stomachs.

Banana Frog

Soft and Blurry

At the moment as you wander through primary forest, secondary forest, the gardens and the driveway, you will be surrounded by swirling masses of brightly colored wings as we reach the zenith of annual butterfly activity.

The most obvious of the butterflies are the Heliconiids or longwings.  They tend to be decked in bright gaudy colors and so are the most noticeable.  Many species can be found around the Lantana bush, a little way beyond the pond.  On the forest floor you will see some of the Satyrs or browns.  The commonest is Pierella luna, a medium sized and subtly marked butterfly that always remains close to the forest floor.  As soon as it settles, the color of the wings blend in with the background dead leaf litter and it disappears from view.  At the moment there is another brown butterfly to be seen on the Zapatero Trail, Antirrhea philoctetes.  It is not actually one of the Satyrs although it is similarly colored; it is one of the Morphinae which are well known for the spectacularly impressive Blue Morphos.

Pierella luna

Philip is a biologist, writer and photographer as well as the onsite naturalist guide at Bosque del Cabo Rainforest lodge on the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica.

www.bosquedelcabo.com

 Photo Feature

 Galling Problem

One of the unusual things people sometimes see on the underside of leaves is small pointed fleshy projections.  These are galls and they are the result of a tiny wasp laying eggs in the plant tissue.  The wasp belongs to the Hymenopteran family Cynipidae.  There are many species of gall wasp and each one causes a different looking gall to be formed.  Even within one species of wasp, depending upon where the egg was laid, different parts of the plant can produce a different gall.  Even within the life history of the gall wasp, different generations at different times of the year can produce different looking galls.

Plant Gall

Gall wasps are so small that they are barely visible to the naked eye, you really need a hand lens to see them and in fact you are far more likely to see the galls and not the wasps.  The mechanism involved with the production of a gall is not fully understood.  The wasp lays an egg in the plant tissue; it is then possible that the wasp larva uses its saliva to cause a reaction in the undifferentiated plant cells resulting in a mass of tissue being deposited around the larva in the form of a cyst.

Plant Gall

The larva develops within the cyst to eventually emerge as a new adult.  The gall may not only house the gall wasp but a host of other small insects too including parasitic wasps of a different family and larvae of parasitic flies.

A Dose of Shingles

The forest is home to a myriad species of vines and their woody forms, lianas.  Vines and lianas have a different early life history to most plants.  When a seed germinates the young plant generally grows towards the light.  If a vine or liana was to grow towards the light, they would end up in a temporary sunfleck on the forest floor, have nowhere to go and so wither and die.  Vine and lianas initially grow towards darkness, a situation known as skototropism and it normally results in the vine growing towards the base of a tree.  When it makes contact there is a hormonal change that takes place and the vine now starts growing up towards the light.  So it has to find the platform before it can climb it.

Shingle Leaves

Many vines as they make their way up from the forest floor into the canopy they change their leaf form.  While growing along the forest floor, the stem may be leafless or have very small leaves.  At it starts to climb the tree the leaves remain small and overlap like a series of shingles.  This helps keep a constant humid microclimate close to the leaves.  The small overlapping leaves are probably all that a developing plant can support.

Philodendron sp

As the vine grows up the side of a tree, the shape of the leaf now changes.  It now becomes long stalked and has a large light gathering leaf surface.  Strangely enough it is not increased light levels that cause the leaf to change shape as the change will occur in the open where light is hitting the full length of the tree but rather the developmental age of the plant stem.

If you look carefully at lower levels of the tree trunks you will see the small overlapping shingle leaves tightly hugging the trunk.  Turn your gaze up and you will see the large leaves that you are probably more familiar with.

Text and Photographs are taken from the forthcoming book:

The Natural History of Bosque del Cabo by Philip Davison

Temperature and Rainfall

Average Daily Rainfall 0.00 ins.  Total Weekly Rainfall 0.00 ins

Average Daily Rainfall 0.00 mm.  Total Weekly Rainfall 0.00 mm

Species List for the Week

Mammals

  • Howler Monkey
  • Spider Monkey
  • Tent-making Bats
  • Agouti
  • Red-tailed Squirrel

Birds

  • Red-lored Amazon
  • Scarlet Macaws
  • White-crowned Parrot
  • Hook-billed Kite
  • Mangrove Black Hawk
  • Roadside Hawk
  • Lineated Woodpecker
  • Blue-crowned Motmot
  • Black-hooded Antshrike
  • Chestnut-backed Antbird
  • Common Paureque
  • Short-billed Pigeon
  • White-tipped Dove
  • Blue-crowned Manakin
  • Red-capped Manakin
  • Chestnut-mandibled Toucan
  • Summer Tanager
  • Rufus Piha
  • Bright-rumped Atilla
  • Dusky Flycatcher
  • Great Kiskadee
  • Great Tinamou
  • House Wren
  • Black-throated Trogon
  • Black Vulture
  • Turkey Vulture

Reptiles

  • Barred Ameiva
  • Central American Whiptail
  • Five-lined Ameiva
  • Cat-eyed Snake
  • Clawless Gecko
  • Golfo Dulce Anolis
  • Tropical Bird-eating Snake

Amphibians

  • Banana Frog
  • Marine Toad
  • Red-eyed Green Tree Frog
  • Smokey Jungle Frog
  • Stejneger’s Dirt Frog

Butterflies

  • Agraulis vanillae
  • Anartia fatima
  • Anartia jatrophae
  • Antirrhea philoctetes
  • Autochton neis
  • Dryas iulia
  • Eueides lybia
  • Eurema daira
  • Glutophrissa drusilla
  • Heliconius erato
  • Heliconius hecale
  • Heliconius ismenius
  • Heliconius sapho
  • Heraclides cresphontes
  • Hermeuptychia hermes
  • Magneuptychia libye
  • Morpho helenor
  • Morpho Menelaus
  • Opsiphanes tamarindi
  • Parides erithalion
  • Philaetria dido
  • Pierella luna
  • Phoebis argante
  • Phoebis sennae
  • Pyrisitia nise
  • Pyrrhogyra crameri
  • Pyrrhogyra otolais
  • Quadrus cerialis
  • Urbanus simplicius
  • Urbanus tanna

Plants

  • Aphelandra golfodulcensis Flowering
  • Bamboo Orchid Flowering
  • Black Alligator Tree Flowering and Fruiting
  • Calabash flowering and fruiting
  • Cannonball Tree Flowering and Fruiting
  • Clusia rosea Flowering
  • Garlic Tree Flowering
  • Milky Tree Fruiting
  • Monkey Comb Tree Flowering and Fruiting
  • Mountain Rose Flowering
  • Ox Eye Vine Fruit
  • Passion Vine Flowering and Fruiting
  • Stinky Toe Fruiting

 

SERPENTINE PORTRAITS: SNAKES   1 comment


Veridion Adventures. Philip Davison. Rainforest animals. Rainforest plants

The weather is being kind again, another sunny day.  Rather than go scouting around the forest, I decided that I would try and get some photographs of the ornamental plants in the gardens.  It is always best to try and achieve this before the sun is too high in the sky otherwise you are going to be fighting against very bright light and harsh shadows.  So with that in mind I made an early morning start but now I encountered another problem, the light breeze that was blowing and causing the plants to gently sway back and forth.  I had really wanted some long exposure shots to nicely blur the background behind the featured blooms but that was not going to be possible.  I did, however, managed to take some photographs that I was happy with, particularly of the flower heads.  Later in the day when the sun has passed overhead, there is always the opportunity to try again.

Rainforest plants. Apocyanaceae. Plumeria rubra. Frangipani. Costa Rica. Philip Davison. Veridion Adventures.

Frangipani, (Plumeria rubra)

There was a good variety of birds around today, but nothing out of the ordinary.  A dead tree with bare leafless branches was making a good vantage point for three of the tyrannid flycatchers; a Great Kiskadee, (Pitangus sulfuratus), Tropical Kingbird, (Tyrannus melancholicus), and a Streaked Flycatcher, (Myiodynastes maculatus).

Rainforest Birds. Aves. Tyrannidae. Myiodynastes maculatus. Streaked Flycatcher. Costa Rica. Philip Davison. VeridionAdventures.

Streaked Flycatcher, (Myiodynastes maculatus)

Just a few feet further on, I saw flying very close to the forest floor, a beautiful little Satyrid butterfly, the Blushing Phantom,  (Cithaerias pireta).  It has transparent wings with a translucent red patch on the rear edge of the hind wing.  It is not easy to see a butterfly with wings as clear as glass, but that faint hint of red will catch the eye sometimes for long enough to see just where it has landed.

Rainforest butterflies. Nymphalidae. Satyrinae. Cithaerias pireta. Blushing Phantom. Costa Rica. Philip Davison. Veridion Adventures.

Blushing Phantom, (Cithaerias pireta)

Serpentine Portraits: Snakes

Snakes, I know, are not everyone’s favorite creature, but I think I have established the fact in previous blogs that I like snakes.  They are not always the easiest things to photograph; they do have the annoying habit of disappearing very quickly.  Even if you can get one to stay still for a period of time, they are so linear that it is akin to trying to take a detailed image of a long piece of string.  So I settle on trying to get the portrait shots.

After lunch as I was walking back to my cabin, another photo opportunity occurred.  On front of me on the forest floor was a young Barred Forest Racer.  Lowering myself slowly to the ground I managed to maneuver myself into a position where I could get some nice close up head shots.

The Barred Forest Racer, (Dendrophidion percarinatum), is a diurnal frog eater.  It has those beautiful huge eyes and typically hunts with its head raised above the forest floor.  The name “Racer” would suggest that the snake is capable of a fair turn of speed and it is.  The barred markings running along the length of the body make focusing on that rapidly moving linear form almost impossible.  Although there is no hard data, herpetologists are currently concerned about globally declining snake numbers.  After many years of very rarely seeing these pretty snakes, this year I have encountered more than in total for the past nine years.  They have not all been sightings in one area, but all over the grounds.  This one posed very calmly for its portrait before disappearing into the undergrowth.  Apart from the eyes, the other stunning feature is that striking bright yellow upper lip.

Rainforest snakes. Squamata. Serpentes. Colubridae. Dendrophidion percarinatum. Barred Forest Racer. Costa Rica. Philip Davison. Veridion Adventures.

Barred Forest Racer, (Dendrophidion percarinatim)

The Northern Cat-eyed Snake, (Leptodeira septentrionalis), is a nocturnal snake.  It has those large eyes with vertical pupils that resemble cat’s eyes which give it the literal name.  They are specialist feeders on frogs and frog’s eggs, so once the sun sets they emerge around the pond to search for prey.  They are venomous, but rear fanged.  The venom is about as toxic as required to subdue a frog and it is almost impossible to induce one to bite.  But once the sun goes down, out they come, cruising over the vegetation surrounding the pond, their heads under the leaves, searching for the eggs of Red-eyed Green Treefrogs which have been laid on the undersides of the leaves overhanging the pond.  For a snake, frog’s eggs are a nice protein packed meal that neither fight back nor run away, so in essence, a perfect food package.  Some nights around the Bosque pond, especially during the height of the amphibian breeding season, there can be up to 50 Cat-eyed Snakes, all searching for those frog eggs.

Rainforest snakes. Squamata. Serpentes. Colubridae. Leptodeira septentrionalis. Cat-eyed Snake. Philip Davison. Veridion Adventures.

Cat-eyed Snake, (Leptodeira septentrionalis)

Philip Davison Is a Biologist, Writer and Photographer Based in Costa Rica

%d bloggers like this: