Uganda 2015

For your reports/images, made outside Europe and the "Mediterranean" countries. Not to be too narrow minded and limited to our European/Mediterranean herps.

Uganda 2015

Postby Rob Andriessen » Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:27 pm

Last week I returned from a safari vacation to Uganda together with my girlfriend. We visited 5 national parks and saw more big mammals than we could have hoped for. I tried to do some herping along the way, but that turned out to be difficult. Usually I would find many agamas, skinks and geckos at the campsites and lodges, mostly the same 5-6 species. I had 3 quick glimses of snakes, none of which I could determine for certain, though one was probably a Naja nigricollis. I spend many hours walking through rainforests and bushes around the lodges and campsites, in the late afternoon or in the evening after dark, but usually I wouldn't see a single herp until I returned to the lodge were agamas, skinks and geckos were abundant. Since we were mostly on game drives or travelling during the morning hours I couldn't do much morning herping, but I still was surprised by the total lack of reptiles as soon as I set a foot outside a campsite. Maybe I'd have to work on my African herping skills, but we also spend many hours driving slowly through national parks, without a single reptile basking or crossing the road, except for one tortoise. Does anyone have similar experiences?

That said, I still saw quite some nice herps: the agamas have amazing colours, there were some beautiful frogs, monitor lizards being too fast to trap on camera and I found my first ever chameleons. My herpetological highlight was a huge nile crocodile, around 4,5-5 meters in length, which we were able to observe from very close (too close, according to my girlfriend). If we use herp-kilograms as a measure of success instead of number of species, the trip was extremely rewarding ;).

Some photos (I didn't get far yet with the determinations, any help is welcome):
IMG_6388 (800x600).jpg
Huge Crocodylus niloticus ruining a great goose photo
IMG_6065 (800x600).jpg
only photo of a snake. Probably Hapsidophrys spp.
IMG_6256 (800x600).jpg
Afrixalus spp (?)
IMG_6431 (800x600).jpg
Kynixis belliana
IMG_6217 (800x600).jpg
Acanthocercus atricollis
IMG_6456 (800x600).jpg
Agama agama female
IMG_6455 (800x600).jpg
Agama agama male
IMG_6258 (800x600).jpg
Hemidactylus spp
IMG_6003 (800x600).jpg
Acanthocercus atricollis male
IMG_5909 (800x600).jpg
Agama spp
IMG_5907 (800x600).jpg
Trioceros bitaeniatus (?)
IMG_5753 (800x600).jpg
Amietophrynus gutturalis (?)
IMG_5750 (800x600).jpg
many geckos!
IMG_5587 (800x600).jpg
Kassina senegalensis
IMG_5573 (800x600).jpg
Hemidactylus spp
IMG_5579 (800x600).jpg
Trachylepis spp
IMG_5551 (800x600).jpg
Acanthocercus atricollis
IMG_5483 (800x600).jpg
Hyperolius spp (?)
20150804_121017 (800x600).jpg
another great frog
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Re: Uganda 2015

Postby Rob Andriessen » Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:38 pm

...and some warm-blooded highlights
IMG_5926(4) (745x800).jpg
IMG_5986 (800x600).jpg
IMG_6201 (800x600).jpg
IMG_5836 (800x600).jpg
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Re: Uganda 2015

Postby Pierre-Yves Vaucher » Thu Aug 13, 2015 7:28 am

nice post, Thanks !
any suggestion:

Agama agama

Acanthocercus atricollis male

Acanthocercus atricollis female ? or female Agama agama

Hyperolius marmoratus ?

Trioceros bitaeniatus ?
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Re: Uganda 2015

Postby Mario Schweiger » Thu Aug 13, 2015 8:21 am

nice picures.
Your Geochelone (now Stigmochelys) pardalis is a Kynixis belliana ;)
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Re: Uganda 2015

Postby Rob Andriessen » Thu Aug 13, 2015 8:58 am

Thanks you both, I adjusted the names. Totally right about Kynixis belliana , it doesn't even look like Stigmochelys pardalis.
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Re: Uganda 2015

Postby Bobby Bok » Thu Aug 13, 2015 9:14 am

Rob Andriessen wrote: Does anyone have similar experiences?

I just came back from a trip to Malawi and Zambia and have the same experience. Our trip was mostly focussed on birds and mammals with only the first stop at the Mulanje mountain almost fully dedicated to herping and there we were succesful. We also did many game drives in the national parks and while I was hoping for a snake or tortoise crossing the road... nothing. In the rainy season it is said this is more common though. I think if you do a dedicated herping trip in Africa you can be very succesful but it is just hard to combine it with the other species groups. Also walking around in the national parks is usually a big no-go delimiting your chances to finding only the more common stuff at the lodges.

Btw. your chameleon is indeed bitaeniatus. The great frog looks like a Phrynobatrachus sp. Your toad is definitely Guttural Toad (white vertical stripe between paratoid and upper arm).
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Re: Uganda 2015

Postby Ruggero Morimando » Thu Aug 13, 2015 11:44 am

Thanks for the report, and interesting to know (but I knew that already from personal experience... :oops: ) that it's not always easy to find snakes even and above all, I would add, in the warmest tropical/equatorial regions of our planet! Many species theoretically present, but small numbers of actual encounters... :P
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Re: Uganda 2015

Postby Rob Andriessen » Fri Aug 14, 2015 2:41 pm

Well at least I'm not the only one, that's a relief. I wonder were all the herps hang out then though. Regarding snakes I had the same experiences in Surinam and Thailand. Maybe I should stick to Europe :?
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Re: Uganda 2015

Postby Martti Niskanen » Fri Aug 14, 2015 5:49 pm

Cool post. The tree lion is particularly special.

I did a 6000km+ road trip in South Africa and Namibia last year with local and visiting herpetologists, most of whom had extensive field experience from the region. Apparently road cruising is pretty much useless during the day and should be restricted to dusk unless it's raining (although we did have our hooks and tongs ready whilst crossing Naja nigricincta woodi and Dendroaspis polylepis habitats during the day). Daytime herping was mostly restricted to flipping.
Our driving was mostly in the daytime on larger roads, but if I remember correctly, we only came across two chamaeleons, two snakes and one toad. All DOR.

Previously in Tanzania we found two leopard tortoises on the road during the day and our guide told us that puff adders and rock pythons can be seen on the road, mostly at dusk. Might not be a bad way to find puff adders as they're notoriously difficult to find just by looking around.

As an outside note: One SA herpetologist told me that if you're an active hiker, you have most likely stepped on a puff adder, and if you haven't, you will. You'll just never know as they're timid and rely on camo.
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