Written by: Amy Verhoeven
For months we have been complaining about the drought. The lack of rain has meant that our natural waterhole nearly dried up completely. Cheetah Paw Eco Lodge even had to make a water reservoir that we have been filling every day to make sure the wildlife at least have something to drink.
But after many months of waiting we have finally had some proper rain which has filled up our natural waterhole again! And the effects of this downpour have been immediate.
Water definitely brings back life to the bush. Trees look greener, animals move around during the day, and more creatures come out of their hiding spots. They have all been waiting for the rain.
In celebration of the recent downpour, the evenings are once again accompanied by the sound of frog concerts – you can’t have better bush music than that! There are also dragon flies flying all over, and tortoises and terrapins slowly emerging from their shelters.
We now have to watch out that we don’t drive over a tortoise or terrapin when we drive through a puddle, as they might just be there having a drink or taking a dip in the water. Snakes and other reptiles and amphibians are also coming out and joining us on the roads. So caution must be taken, as it can be quite difficult to spot these animals in the water!
We actually found a serrated terrapin (Pelusios sinuatus) on one of our walks just after the rain. It was quite shy but looked curious. At first his front hinge was closed, but we stayed there for a little while to check if he would come out of his shell. And finally he did open up a little bit and peek through! This is something we haven’t seen in a long while with the drought.
Even the frogs are at it again. Most frogs lay eggs in the water, but that is not the case with the foam nest frog, also called the gray tree frog. Nests are usually situated on branches or other features overhanging the water. The female makes the nest construction by whipping the oviducal secretion from her cloaca with her hind legs into a white foam.
The nest may take up to seven hours to complete. Not all of it is done at once, it can take between two and four sessions to complete the nest. The female needs to return to water to rehydrate before she can continue each time.
This foam nest frog used the wall of our water reservoir to make her nest. One clutch can contain up to 1,000 eggs and the tadpoles will drop out of the nest about five days after they hatched. We look forward to their arrival!