In Review: My Top 12 Photos of 2018!

A short snap shot into some of my personal favourite images and finds throughout the year. Some of the images are really about the animals and in other instances it’s the story behind them or just the look and feel of the image that stood out.

2018 has been an extremely difficult and busy year on several fronts so seeing these in once place is always a nice way seeing where I’ve been, explored and currently am.

Hemisus guttatus

Spotted Shovel Nosed Frog. From St Lucia, Kwa-Zulu Natal.

A frog that was a major target for Courtney Hundermark when we set out road cruising in St Lucia earlier this year. Sometimes when you talk about something enough you almost expect to find it usually you jinx it and never find it but this time around we scored!

Dispholidus typus viridis.

Common Boomslang. From  Durban, Kwa Zulu Natal.

Trying to photograph snakes in the middle of day is never easy never mind the bright harsh light but in scorching heat doesn’t make it easy. This snake was expertly wrangler by my mate Rob Macmillan a nice clean head shot of a snake I seldom see around Durban.

Boaedon capensis

Brown House Snake. From Durban North, Kwa-Zulu Natal.

A common snake that doesn’t get enough attention it really deserves, I photographed plenty of Brown House Snakes this year but catching this little one emerging from its egg was certainly one of my favourite images of them this year.

Bradypodion damaranum

Knysna Dwarf Chameleon. From George, Western Cape.

Over an extended long weekend in April I made a “quick” trip down into the Karoo and Garden Route to catch up with long time friend Rian Stander. We had a quiet time with not too much herp activity besides the hordes of Knysna Dwarf Chameleons we found. This animal i had walked right past where it was sitting at around eye level!

Leptopelis natalensis

Natal Forest Tree Frog. From Virgina, Kwa-Zulu Natal.

 

Another common species which I could go photograph every evening as they call from the trees and shrubs around any body of water in the Durban area. One of the most photogenic frogs around and it’s not difficult to see why!

Aspidelaps lubricus lubricus

Coral Shield Cobra. From Prince Albert, Western Cape

My last major trip of 2018 was a 12 day trip through Namaqualand I had switched up my return plans to go via Oudtshoorn and the Karoo to connect with Rian again. We took a drive through Prince Albert and found this Coral Shield Cobra crossing the road as we headed back into town at around 00:30. We moved it off the road and snapped a few photos – I had to be back on the road at 04:00am!

Psammobates tentorius tentorius

Common Tent Tortoise. From Near Aberdeen, Eastern Cape.

On the same trip in April through the Eastern Cape just outside of Aberdeen I spotted a small object hurriedly making its way around the road  I sped up and to my surprise found this exquisite example of a Common Tent Tortoise! I had seen these before in the Karoo but never such a small one so this was a real treat!

Lamprophis guttatus

Spotted Rock Snake. From Spektakelpas, Northern Cape

Whilst travelling through Namaqualand we had spent a few days in Springbok with seeing very little in the way of snakes. We drove through a pass and as we come to a section of the road with steep banks on either side and came across this Spotted Rock Snake making its way slowly across the road – what a great find!

Ptychadena nilotica

Nile Grass Frog feeding on a Painted Reed Frog. Hluhluwe, Kwa-Zulu Natal.

Whilst visiting Umkhumbi Lodge in Hluhluwe, the Wild Volunteers and I came across this amazing site of a Nile Grass Frog feeding on a Painted Reed frog! Both species are not uncommon but I’d never come across one eating the other like this. Both animals were quite obliging and managed to get some nice pics of this unusual sight.

Bitis schneideri

Namqualand Dwarf Adder. From Mcdougalls Bay, Northern Cape.

While staying Dave Maguire out in McDougalls Bay, we searched the dunes for the worlds smallest adder and one afternoon we were eventually rewarded! These snakes are minute and adults average just on 20cm! They thrive in the sandy dunes covered with short dense vegetation along the coast. A harsh environment with winds that will make you want to spend your time back on the couch.

Atractaspis bibronii

Bibrons Stiletto Snake with exposed fangs. From Durban Kwa Zulu Natal.

An usual photo but one that best shoes the dangerous of the Stiletto snake. A common snake found in the greater Durban area this specimen allowed me the opportunity to photograph its fangs showing the dangers this small unassuming snake can pose.

Ouroborus cataphractus

Armadillo Lizard. From Lekkersing, Northern Cape

Whilst out in the Richertsveld with David Maguire and Andries Cilliers we spent a morning looking for Armadillo Lizards and we certainly found numbers of them within an hour or two. I’d seen these lizards before in the Cederberg last year but had never seen them bite their tails and roll up  – a really common defence they do! So after a few minutes I was able to get the shot!

So that’s my personal TOP 12 photos for 2018 as for now I’m heading out to Hluhluwe to see the rest of the year out and hopefully bump into a few more reptiles and amphibians to share with you early in the new year!

by Tyrone Ping

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