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Reptile Tales From The Wild Coast

As Claude Monet once said; “The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration.”

After meeting a very interesting chap named Tyrone; I was intrigued by his passion and knowledge on snakes and reptiles and thought it would be an interesting tale to share…

 

Tyrone Ping has always been intrigued by snakes and reptiles from an early age, growing up in Kwa-Zulu Natal these were never in short supply, from the coastal forests to the Drakensberg mountains. During his late teens he began to explore outside the confines of Kwa Zulu Natal, further across South Africa. With intent to capture and photograph anything whilst avoiding getting bitten, sunstroke or lost along the way. Tyrone introduced me to, two endemic species found on the Wild Coast coastal belt; namely the : The Bushveld Rain Frog (Breviceps adspersus pentheri) and the endangered Pondoland Dwarf Chameleon (Bradypodion caffer).

 

Breviceps_adspersus_pentheri_Bushveld_Rain_Frog_Tyrone_Ping

 

The seldom seen Bushveld Rain Frog found at Umngazi is a sub species of Bushveld Rain Frog which only occurs in a relatively small restricted ranges along the Wild Coast coastal belt.

The males can often be heard calling after and during rains with a series of short high pitched whistles, they only attain a length of around 55mm in females and males around 35mm. They’re generally found in sandy and semi damp loamy-soils ground often making their shallow depressions at the base of thick vegetation like ferns and small shrubs.
Unlike most frogs and toads, Rain frogs cannot jump they are known for their running abilities! They lay their eggs underground in a small burrow where the female usually remains keeping watch over the eggs until they hatch.
Bradypodion-caffer--Transkei-Dwarf-Chameleon_Tyrone-Ping_1
The Pondo Dwarf Chameleon is known only to occur in the vicinity of Port St Johns, South Africa. It prefers thick coastal forest and suitable habitat for the species is believed to be limited to 45 km2 (17 mi2) (Branch, 1998; Tolley & Burger, 2007). Bradypodion caffer is assessed as Endangered because of its extremely limited distribution, extent of occurrence measuring less than 5,000 km2 (1931 mi2), and threats to its habitat (Tolley, 2010). Unfortunately, the majority of the species already limited distribution is outside of protected areas, the lone exception being the Silaka Nature Preserve, a small preserve of only 400 hectares (988 acres).  Loss and degradation of unprotected habitat in the region are attributed to, overgrazing by livestock, conversion of forest to agricultural land, fuel-wood collection, invasion of non-native plants, and urbanization (Driver et al., 2005). Little is known about this enigmatic dwarf chameleon’s ecology and population size as basic biological studies are sorely lacking. Pondoland Dwarf Chameleon Conservation Project: https://www.memberplanet.com/campaign/hci/projectpondo

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