St Lucia Awaits.

While I’ve been through to St Lucia several times this summer already I made a beeline to join good friend Theo Busschau and Lindsay in St Lucia over the weekend in early December while he was making his way back from Stellenbosch in the Western Cape to Nelspruit.

I left Durban late Friday afternoon and made the 275km drive to St Lucia arriving just after 7pm – I saw a few toads on the road in but nothing notable. I had a bit of a mix up with accommodation options and eventually settled for a nice self catering chalet in the centre of town aircondlting at this time of year is well worth the little extra required to work out.

I met up with Theo and Lindsay and we headed put on a-quick cruise around town, a few toads and a Brown Back Tree Frog. We headed out of town and soon picked up more toads, a grass frog, a dead Brown House Snake a near dead Herald snake and a dead Rhombic Egg Eater.

We returned back around 11:30pm after a rather unfruitful evening. Stopping at one of the local guest houses which have a large pond were we saw several Argus Reed Frogs and a few Setaro’s Dwarf Chameleons.

Southern Foam Nest From – Chiromantis xerampelina

 

Broad Banded Grass Frog – Ptychadena mossambica

Guttural Toad – Sclerophrys gutturalis

Argus Reed Frog – Hyperolius argus

Eastern Olive Toad – Sclerophrys garmani

Common Platana – Xenopus laevis

Early Saturday morning we headed out and scratched around one of the local rest camp but turned up very little. We started photographing a few specimens from the previous night before releasing them and bumped in Cas Barker who was in town for the holidays. We chatted a bit and arranged we’d go through to Hluhluwe/False Bay for some herping later that afternoon/evening.

As predicted the rain came down in sheets at around 3:30pm that afternoon while we were in route to False bay – made fro hair-raising driving but should get lucky with the herps for sure! After False-bay we heading back into town to kill some time, refuel and grab some dinner at the local garage. As we headed back towards Hluhluwe the frogs where already going crazy all over the roads. We ended up with around 20+ species seen in a few hours cruising.

Mottled Shovel Nose – Hemisus marmoratus

Tremolo Sand Frog – Tomopterna cryptotis

Brown Backed Tree Frog – Leptopelis mossambicus

African Bull Frog – Pyxicephalus edulis

Northern Pygmy Toad – Poyntonophrynus fenoulheti 

Red Banded Rubber Frog – Phrynomantis bifasciatus

Kwazulu Caco – Cacosternum nanogularum 

Bubbling Kassina – Kassina senegalensis 

Black File Snake – Gracililima nyassae

Brown Forest Cobra – Naja subfulva

Myself with a large Brown Forest Cobra.
Photo by Theo Basschau

An interesting observation was the Black File snake which we found in the middle of the road after some heavy rains busy feeding on an Eastern Sand Skink. The large forest cobra measured at 1.92m certainly one of the biggest ones I’d seen in some time.

Not a bad trip!

by Tyrone Ping

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