Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Taking the rainforest by storm, one night at a time...

You remember our friend Brian from a previous post, right? Brian’s a herpetologist that studies frog and snake populations. He has a ton of projects going on right now, as well as his dissertation project, and he’s doing all of these projects solo. So, we decided to tag along on one of his night hikes to lend him a hand, and to experience what it’s like to do research in the rainforest in the dark (something we don’t typically do when doing research in the canopy). So, we went out with him at the end of last week and hiked 30 minutes to a creek, which we surveyed for frogs and lizard presence. 

When we got to the creek, Brian casually mentioned to us that we might see a fer de lance snake (very poisonous, very common snake at La Selva, which we’re clearly terrified of, given our blog name), We probably walked by one, but didn’t see it… and no one got bitten… so we’re good!

The forest is completely dark at night, so we didn’t have any light except for our headlamps, which didn’t make for taking good pictures. But here’s a quick recap of what happened:
We found one frog (when we went on our hike, it hadn’t rained in 3 days and frogs typically only come out in large numbers after rain), and 3 Anol lizards (and Lindsay thought she killed one of them when she was holding it… she didn’t though!)

We also found 3 snakes; a brown vine snake, a cat-eyed snake, and a sock headed snake. We brought the sock headed snake back to the lab with us, because according to Brian, this snake is a really rare sighting. Go Shannon for spotting it!


 Left: Thomas and Shannon, sock-headed snake in hand. Right: Lindsay, the snake wrangler.

Long story short, the rainforest is drastically different at night than it is during the day. We had moments of fear, moments of falling (literally falling; Providence and Lindsay both fell into the creek...) and moments of triumphing over our fears.


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