Reptiles and Amphibians Selati and Karongwe Game Reserves

Reptiles and Amphibians Selati and Karongwe Game Reserves

Postby rvanhuyssteen » Fri May 31, 2013 10:26 am

I spent two months in the Lowveld at Selati and Karongwe Nature Reserves in order to do my field guide training. This is part of a bigger plan to live in the bush and quit being a drone. (The "real world" is such a drag.)

In those two months I managed to photograph some cool reptiles, many off which I have not seen in the wild. The conditions were not ideal for reptiles (it was very cold at night, I was only able to look around camp in my spare time and if I was lucky would see stuff while driving or walking in a group), but I was very luck to see a variety of species and get a little closer acquainted with some.

Below are some of my pictures in order of appearance. Another forum member was on the course too, he took some good picture and I am sure he will add to this thread when he is ready.

Hope you enjoy the pictures:

Here is the first reptile, within ten minutes of arriving at Selati Game Reserve a fellow student called me to come to her tent. It was a Spotted Bush Snake and it was devouring a Tropical House Gecko. I did not want it to leave the gecko, so I just photographed it from inside the tent.

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Mottled Shovel-nosed Frog (Hemisus marmoratus),

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Cape Centipede Eater, Aparallactus capensis.

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Leopard Tortoise, Stigmochelys pardalis (check out that tick!)

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Flap-necked Chameleon, Chamaeleo dilepis

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Juvenile Serrated Hinged Terrapin, Pelusios sinuatus

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Russet-backed Sand Frog, Tomopterna marmorata

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Knocking Sand Frog, http://sareptiles.co.za/gallery/albums/userpics/20694/IMG_2695.jpg

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This Snouted Night Adder (Causus defilippii) was a first for me. I was surprised at how small they were. I saw three within a few days.

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Variable Skink (Trachylepis varia), I really love these little guys.

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Moreau's Tropical House Gecko, Hemidactylus mabouia

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Bushveld Rain Frog, Breviceps adspersus adspersus

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Southern Vine Snake, Thelotornis capensis. (This snake was right up there on the list of snakes I wanted to photograph while out there.)

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Striped Skaapsteker, Psammophylax tritaeniatus

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Black-lined Plated Lizard, Gerrhosaurus nigrolineatus

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Eastern Striped Skink, Trachylepis striata (Another great lizard, skinks are fast becoming one of my favourite reptiles, they are so interesting to observe.)

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Puff Adder, Bitis arietans. (This snake was dead on the road, at first I thought a predator had killed it, but the tracks on the road indicated that a giraffe was the likely suspect. I skinned the snake and have the skin now.)

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Speke's Hinged Tortoise, Kinixys spekii. (This shell was laying around camp, I wanted to see a live one, but it was the wrong time of year.)

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Western Striped-Bellied Sand Snake, Psammophis trigrammus. (This guy was exhibiting some interesting behaviour, it was raising its tail end high into the air and waiving it, the effect looked something like grass blowing in the wind. Very interesting behaviour, has anyone seen this before?)

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Adult Serrated Hinged Terrapin, Pelusios sinuatus.

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Water Monitor, Varanus niloticus. (I saw two monitors fighting in the river and tried to approach them to photograph, when they saw me they disengaged and I could not resist the urge to go after one.)

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Juvenile Yellow-throated Plated Lizard, Gerrhosaurus flavigularis. (I saw many of these including a massive one. I have never seen one as big as the massive one, it was as big as young Giant Plated Lizard, anyone seen very big ones?)

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Common Flat Lizard, Platysaurus intermedius

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Variegated Wolf Snake, Lycophidion variegatum. (This snake was in the blue and literally looked blue.)

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Turner's Tubercled Gecko, Chondrodactylus turneri. (This was a big guy.)

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Reticulated Centipede Eater, Aparallactus lunulatus. (Never thought I'd encounter one of these, I ended up seeing three.)

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Another Flap-necked Chameleon, Chamaeleo dilepis.

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Bushveld Lizard, Heliobolus lugubris, (These guys are fast!)

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Painted Reed Frog, Hyperolius marmoratus.
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Giant Plated Lizard, Gerrhosaurus validus. (I saw many of these,juveniles and adults, but this is the best picture I managed to get. About two minutes after taking this picture I saw a black mamba, but it was fast and disappeared into the granite koppie. I would say it was 2.5 metres.)

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Rough Scaled Plated Lizard, Gerrhosaurus major. (I saw this lizard interacting with Dwarf Mongooses, I could not get a better shot but I was happy to get these two anyway.)

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The rest of the images are of Rainbow Skinks, Trachylepis margaritifer and Common Flat Lizards Platysaurus intermedius. There was a small rocky outcrop near the camp I was staying at and I spent a lot of time watching these little guys and they just made me so happy. So these photos are just an appreciation of these cool lizards.

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Lastly, another variable skink.

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Thanks for looking.
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Re: Reptiles and Amphibians Selati and Karongwe Game Reserve

Postby michael » Fri May 31, 2013 11:02 am

Wow, you did have some excellent finds! I really enjoyed this post, thanks for taking the time to share all these amazing animals with us.
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Re: Reptiles and Amphibians Selati and Karongwe Game Reserve

Postby Mitton » Fri May 31, 2013 11:05 am

Awesome post, some really nice finds.

Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Reptiles and Amphibians Selati and Karongwe Game Reserve

Postby Westley Price » Fri May 31, 2013 11:24 am

Best post in a LOOOOONG time! Some epic finds there.

For 2 months this is a great species list. Well done.

I can't pick my favourite find, but my top three are the Bushveld Lizard, Reticulated centipede Eater and the Variegated Wolf Snake.

Great stuff!
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Re: Reptiles and Amphibians Selati and Karongwe Game Reserve

Postby Kev » Fri May 31, 2013 7:57 pm

Awesome post. Thanks for sharing.
I like the snouted night adder, how did you find them?
I also love the striped skaapie still one of my favorite snakes.
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Re: Reptiles and Amphibians Selati and Karongwe Game Reserve

Postby Jason&Sam » Fri May 31, 2013 8:09 pm

Such a great post. Looks like an amazing trip. Thanks for sharing.
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Re: Reptiles and Amphibians Selati and Karongwe Game Reserve

Postby Mamba no 5 » Fri May 31, 2013 11:59 pm

That black lizard is amazing.
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Re: Reptiles and Amphibians Selati and Karongwe Game Reserve

Postby levi_20 » Sat Jun 01, 2013 3:10 pm

Quality all round, thanks.
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Re: Reptiles and Amphibians Selati and Karongwe Game Reserve

Postby rvanhuyssteen » Sat Jun 01, 2013 8:15 pm

Thanks for the feedback. I am always happy to share what I find.

Kev, the Night Adders were active on an over cast days, I found them moving around.

I never thought I'd see a Reticulated Centipede Eater and I saw three (during daylight), so I was very happy.

I also think it is a good species list, especially for the time of year. There was also a Mozambique Spitting Cobra that got away (I never had shoes on and lost it in the rough) as well as two separate Boomslangs that I never managed to photograph (both females).
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Re: Reptiles and Amphibians Selati and Karongwe Game Reserve

Postby Fooble » Sun Jun 02, 2013 7:59 pm

MEGA!

rvanhuyssteen that Aparallactus lunulatus is a huge find, co - ordanites im sure will be great for http://adu.org.za/ and even www.ispot.co.za.

I echo Westly sentiments BEST post this forum has seen in MONTHS!

Well done some of us really appreciate these field posts.
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Re: Reptiles and Amphibians Selati and Karongwe Game Reserve

Postby rvanhuyssteen » Sun Jun 02, 2013 11:46 pm

Thanks Fooble.

I did realize that it was a significant find, but I think there are many out there. I saw three in total. I haven't seen many good pictures though.

I did upload the observations onto Ispot. I think they are linked up to adu.org.za through SANBI.

I'll be sure to share my future observations. I am planning on getting out into the field and and into diverse places as much as I possibly can, so far so good.
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Re: Reptiles and Amphibians Selati and Karongwe Game Reserve

Postby Kakibos » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:13 am

Nice, I would love to find that many reptiles on a trip. Good one.
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Re: Reptiles and Amphibians Selati and Karongwe Game Reserve

Postby BRB » Mon Jun 03, 2013 8:30 am

The Wolf is awesome, nice finds
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Re: Reptiles and Amphibians Selati and Karongwe Game Reserve

Postby froot » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:18 pm

You can call that trip a HUGE success from a herping perspective, just makes me want to get back out there.
I notice you make more mention about behaviour than usual field trip reports which tells me you like to sit and observe and the wildlife presents itself to you, opposed to rushing around and diving for anything you see. Less invasive approach shall we say an look at the results!
That sand snake behaviour intrigues me.

Thanks for posting rvanhuyssteen.
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Re: Reptiles and Amphibians Selati and Karongwe Game Reserve

Postby Sfourie » Fri Jun 21, 2013 8:50 am

Hi guys

Sorry for the long wait, had quite a number of photos to process and a hunt in between but here is my contribution of photographs illustrating the adventures we had.

Serrated hinged terrapin.

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Woodland's doormouse. Found it in the cupboard.

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Striped skaapsteker.

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The view from HQ koppie.

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Selati River after rains.

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Variegated wolf snake

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Golden-orb web spider. One of our instructors, Albie Venter, photographed a blue waxbill that was caught in the net of a golden-orb web spider not too long ago.

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Flap-neck chameleon fast asleep, then just waking up on a white rasin.

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A series of a dark-chanting goshawk.

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Spotted bush snake. Had to go through a buffalo thorn for this one.

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In the bush. The view from Beacon Rock at Karongwe.

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Sunset through a marula.

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Silhouette photo.

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Kite spider in the early morning light.

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There is a Boomslang on my stoep!

Bit of a story behind the next series of images.

The 23rd of May was the day before my practical assessment was scheduled. Instead of joining other students on their practical assessment I decided that my time was best spent at camp preparing myself for the following morning.

It was about 7:30 when a very nervy looking Lynette (cleaner and cook) fetched me from the lecture platform to “remove a snake”. The snake had curled up inside one of the sheaths through which a supporting beam of the tent ran on the stoep. The chosen tent was tent #1, my tent. Lynette was busy cleaning my tent when she spotted a coil of the snake.

As I could not make out any distinguishing details of what was in front of me, I fetched Ryan's snake hook. Suitably armed I returned and removed the snake, big was the surprise when the snake turned out to be a beautiful female Boomslang. She was ice cold and showed no aggression whatsoever. After some photos I moved her to a tree about 30m away from the tent.

That afternoon at about 3 o’clock (after a compulsory uit %^$ session from the instructor about my day’s experiences) I returned to my tent only to have glimpse of miss. Boomslang reentering the exact same place I caught her. I decided to leave her be and shared my tent with her for the remainder of the course.

Needless to say Lynette there after refused to clean my tent!

C’est’l Afrique.

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Can anyone please help ID this gecko? I think it may be a speckled gecko (Pachydactylus punctatus).

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