Finding Frogs in the Forest

Since arriving to Belize, I had not gone out at night. I have been working during the day and by the time night fell I have just wanted to go to sleep! Feeling rather lame, I decided that I had to go out… but last night was no exception. I was dead tired. So as I sat on a couch debating to myself whether or not to go out, something fell from the ceiling next to me. I looked up to see a large gecko, Thecadactylus rapicauda, appearing rather guilty as it clung to the rafters.

thecadactylus rapicauda

Sometimes it takes a gecko defecating on you to get you motivated to your feet. With that, I prepared myself and left the house.

Incilius valliceps, Gulf Coast Toad

Right out the main gate, I saw a toad. This is a Gulf Coast Toad, Incilius valliceps. They are common in the area and come in a variety of color patterns. From there I headed to a nearby stream to see if I could find the parents of the recently laid eggs that I had discovered the day before.

Lithobates juliani, Lithobates vaillanti

It wasn’t long before I found my first frog. Resting in a small rock pool was this beautiful adult Lithobates. It dashed off into the forest before I could get a closer look, but most likely this is a Vaillant Frog, Lithobates vaillanti. However, its coloration was rather strange so I need to get a better look to identify this individual. If I go out again soon, it will be back in the same spot.

Lithobates vaillanti, Vaillant Frog

I found a few other frogs at the same pool and all were Vaillant Frogs. This juvenile displayed the gorgeous green dorsal pattern which is characteristic of the species.

As I walked down the river, I did not find much else. I was disappointed as I did not even find a sleeping lizard. However, there were plenty of gigantic spiders!

Fishing Spider, Belize

This Fishing Spider is about 7″ in diameter. A good friend of mine, and spider expert, tells me it is in the genus Dolomedes. This is awesome, as now I have a name for them. Generally I would just describe them as the Grim Reaper of Tadpoles. It never ceases to amaze me how truly large the spiders get in Central America.

Rhinella marina HUGE 550

I also came upon a Marine Toad, Rhinella marina, soaking in the river.

Rhinella marina, Cane Toad, Marine Toad

Quick note about Marine Toads. In Central America, the Marine Toad is a native species. However, they are invasive in other parts of the world. These poor amphibians get a bad rap in the country and many are killed indiscriminately. For more information, please read my article about living with these toads in Belize. Click here to read the full article.

Lithobates vaillanti, Vaillant Frog

Near the end of my survey, I chanced upon this large female Vaillant Frog resting on a felled log by the river. She is an absolutely beautiful amphibian and I was so pleased to have been graced by her presence. After I took this photo, she barked at me and darted off into the night. A great way to end the evening.

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