West Coast - South Africa Herping Trip.

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

West Coast - South Africa Herping Trip.

Postby Tyrone Ping » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:03 pm

On my previous trip to this area of the Western Cape in February was quite a different experience, in February the weather was hot, dry and relatively quiet on the reptile front with hours spent in the field offering very little rewards. This time around thankfully was a vastly different experience. Earlier in the year I purchased a few tickets on a Flysafair third birthday sale for R3(inclusive each way) no strings attached so a round trip to Cape Town cost R6.00 you can't even buy a bottle of water for that price - let alone a bottle of water on a flight. Although buying tickets that far in advance has it's down side...a week before my trip I was reminded about the flights. Usually, meticulous planning is my thing, from times, dates, kilometres and even the animals I'd plan on seeing this time was a little different. Fortunately, good friend Andries Cilliers who's based in Durbanville in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town is always up for a quick trip and we made some last minute accommodation plans and it was set.

Image


After arriving at a rather cold and damp Cape Town, we didn’t waste much time and set out to photograph some Cape Dwarf Chameleons in the nearby hedges and ivy covered walls around where Andries stays. Much like most of the Dwarf Chameleons around South Africa they’re incredibly well adapted to thrive in suburban environments and in well-planted gardens and hedge rows these secretive animals can be plentiful, although they’re heavily affected by domesticated cats. Some light rain and low temperatures didn’t prove a damper on our search and we turned up 5/6 Cape Dwarf Chameleons in quick succession.

Bradypodion pumilum - Cape Dwarf Chameleon
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image

Some other tree dwelling animals Afrogecko porphyreus - Marbled lead-toed Gecko
Image
Image

With a major tick on my list for the trip already done within the first two hours of the trip I couldn’t complain about that. After a few more photos we started to plans for Saturday morning where we’d meet with another friend Theo and we would make our way to the West Coast National Park our last visit proved to be a bit under whelming with the prolonged periods without rain had certainly kept the reptiles in short supply. We were hoping tomorrows trip would be different.

We left Durbanville at around 7am still dark and driving through heavy mist, I was hoping this wouldn’t be set the tone for the day. Around 125kms later we had reached out destination and hopefully going to make a success of it.
Image

Trachylepis capensis - Cape Skink
http://www.tyroneping.co.za/wp-content/ ... 17WM-2.jpg

In this particular are it’s known to be a great spot for the Namaqua Rain Frog (Breviceps namaquensis) but sadly we couldn’t see them get it it right. Being in the right habitat, with the right conditions but finding a frog the size of a brusselsprout is altogether another thing. Although we manages to find two other frogs in the same niche habitat as the Rain Frogs so the time searching wasn’t totally in vain. Along with the two Cape Sand Frogs and some Dwarf Burrowing Skinks.

i]Tomopterna delalandii[/i] - Cape Sand Frog
Image
Image

Pachydactyus getjie - Occelated Gecko
http://www.tyroneping.co.za/wp-content/ ... 017_WM.jpg
Image

Acontias meleagris - Cape Legless Skink
Image

Now after most of the morning has lapsed and the sun had come out in force we headed over to Geelbek restaurant for lunch and replenish ourselves as we still had a another good two or three spots to check out and a number of species still to see in the reserve and hopefully a few more photos to take. We all had a surprisingly good lunch although as usual the Sanparks facilities in a lot of the Western Cape parks seldom disappoint.

We made our way closer to the large coastal dunes where you can often see whales just over the breakers on occasion flanked by dolphins. Not a bad place to scratch around for some reptiles and take in the sights and sounds of the West Coast. I’ve been to this spot a good few times and have seldom been disappointed and more often than note being quite successful here, this time seemed no different. Andries spotted a “lizard” and clambered over some rocks and had found out first reptile at this point – which was in fact a new species for him (myself included!)

Cordylus macropholis - Large Scaled Girdled Lizard
Image
Image

Dasypeltis scabra - Rhombic Egg Eater
Image
Image

Rhinotyphlops lalandei - Delalande's beaked blind snake
Image
Image
Image

Goggia lineata - Pygmy Striped Gecko
Image

Homoroselaps lacteus - Spotted Harequin Snake
Image
Image

Psammophis leightoni - Cape Sand Snake
Image
Image

Psammophylax rhombeatus rhombeatus - Rhombic Skaapsteker
Image
Image

These skinks are well adapted to burrowing in the loose soft soil often bought to the surface by the large amounts of moles here on the West Coast. The theory is the loose sand heats up during the day and allows the skinks to be able to thermoregulate and move freely in the soil without obstructions like roots and rocks to stop them.
Scelotes bipes - Silvery Dwarf Burrowing Skink
Image
Image

Strongylopus grayii - Clicking Stream Frog
Image
Image

More exquisite Cape Dwarf Chameleons from a different locality
Bradypodion pumilum - Cape Dwarf Chameleon
Image
Image

Image
The Following day Andries and I headed to Stellenbosch in search of some of the vibrantly coloured Cape Dwarf Chameleons this small town is known for. We walked the town checking in at the Stellenbosch Botanical Gardens but no such luck on the chameleon front. We walked around a bit longer when I noticed two lavender plants and after finding a few different species on these in the past gave it and there was a rather bolding marked juvenile Cape Dwarf Chameleon amongst the foliage.

Image

I came across this animal during the day between these flowers catching flying insects, I tried to capture images of it feeding but couldn't quite get the right frames.
Insitu:
Image
Image

Image
Image

Image

Image

Typical chameleon tails in sleeping posture.
Image
Image

Species list:
Acontias meleagris - Cape Legless Skink
Afrogecko porphyreus - Marbled lead-toed Gecko
Bradypodion pumilum - Cape Dwarf Chameleon
Cordylus macropholis - Large Scaled Girdled Lizard
Dasypeltis scabra - Rhombic Egg Eater
Goggia lineata - Pygmy Striped Gecko
Homoroselaps lacteus - Spotted Harequin Snake
Pachydactyus getjie - Occelated Gecko
Psammophis leightoni - Cape Sand Snake
Psammophylax rhombeatus rhombeatus - Rhombic Skaapsteker
Rhinotyphlops lalandei - Delalande's beaked blind snake
Scelotes bipes - Silvery Dwarf Burrowing Skink
Strongylopus grayii - Clicking Stream Frog
Tomopterna delalandii - Cape Sand Frog
Trachylepis capensis - Cape Skink

Thanks for looking:
Image

More over on http://www.tyroneping.co.za:
Image
User avatar
Tyrone Ping
 
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:49 am
Hometown: Durban
country: SouthAfrica

Re: West Coast - South Africa Herping Trip.

Postby Michal Szkudlarek » Thu Aug 03, 2017 7:16 pm

Why are you looking for cameleons at night? Is it easier to find them then?
User avatar
Michal Szkudlarek
 
Posts: 1088
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2011 12:09 pm
Location: Poland
Hometown: ...
country: Poland

Re: West Coast - South Africa Herping Trip.

Postby Mario Schweiger » Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:33 am

Michal Szkudlarek wrote:Why are you looking for cameleons at night? Is it easier to find them then?


you should read all these postings on Chamaeleons here :!: :!:
So you should know :lol:
Mario (Admin)

Please visit also my personal Herp-site vipersgarden.at
User avatar
Mario Schweiger
Site Admin
 
Posts: 2192
Joined: Wed May 06, 2009 7:57 pm
Location: Obertrum, Salzburg, Austria
Hometown: Obertrum
country: Austria

Re: West Coast - South Africa Herping Trip.

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:29 am

Oh my... Again outstanding, Tyrone! You superbly captured the texture and colours of those chameleons.

Michal, a fool can ask more questions than a wise man can answer. :P
Please take up Mario's advice. Goes for the arvalis question too. I wouldn't say this to a newby, but you aren't one.
Jeroen Speybroeck
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3153
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:18 am
Hometown: Merelbeke
country: Belgium

Re: West Coast - South Africa Herping Trip.

Postby Michal Szkudlarek » Fri Aug 04, 2017 5:08 pm

Jeroen Speybroeck wrote:Oh my... Again outstanding, Tyrone! You superbly captured the texture and colours of those chameleons.

Michal, a fool can ask more questions than a wise man can answer. :P
Please take up Mario's advice. Goes for the arvalis question too. I wouldn't say this to a newby, but you aren't one.

Ok, I searched the forum for posts regarding wolterstorfi and I found my own post viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1162&p=9959&hilit=wolterstorffi#p9959 in which I said that the taxon is invalid. Hah.
User avatar
Michal Szkudlarek
 
Posts: 1088
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2011 12:09 pm
Location: Poland
Hometown: ...
country: Poland

Re: West Coast - South Africa Herping Trip.

Postby Jeroen Speybroeck » Fri Aug 04, 2017 5:52 pm

Michal Szkudlarek wrote:
Jeroen Speybroeck wrote:Oh my... Again outstanding, Tyrone! You superbly captured the texture and colours of those chameleons.

Michal, a fool can ask more questions than a wise man can answer. :P
Please take up Mario's advice. Goes for the arvalis question too. I wouldn't say this to a newby, but you aren't one.

Ok, I searched the forum for posts regarding wolterstorfi and I found my own post viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1162&p=9959&hilit=wolterstorffi#p9959 in which I said that the taxon is invalid. Hah.


http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1 ... x/abstract

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sp ... 000000.pdf

http://www.fuckinggoogleit.com/ :P

Please let us not derail this SA thread any further.
Jeroen Speybroeck
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3153
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2009 10:18 am
Hometown: Merelbeke
country: Belgium

Re: West Coast - South Africa Herping Trip.

Postby Michal Szkudlarek » Fri Aug 04, 2017 10:40 pm

There is something (a complex of properties eg. slowness) that makes chameleons favourite lizards of many (including me), just like something makes vipers favourite snakes of many.

Jeroen Speybroeck wrote:
Michal Szkudlarek wrote:
Jeroen Speybroeck wrote:Oh my... Again outstanding, Tyrone! You superbly captured the texture and colours of those chameleons.

Michal, a fool can ask more questions than a wise man can answer. :P
Please take up Mario's advice. Goes for the arvalis question too. I wouldn't say this to a newby, but you aren't one.

Ok, I searched the forum for posts regarding wolterstorfi and I found my own post viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1162&p=9959&hilit=wolterstorffi#p9959 in which I said that the taxon is invalid. Hah.


http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1 ... x/abstract

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sp ... 000000.pdf

http://www.fuckinggoogleit.com/ :P

Please let us not derail this SA thread any further.

Thanks! I was looking for Litvinchuk's publications in Mario's database but I did not find these ones.
User avatar
Michal Szkudlarek
 
Posts: 1088
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2011 12:09 pm
Location: Poland
Hometown: ...
country: Poland

Re: West Coast - South Africa Herping Trip.

Postby Tyrone Ping » Sat Aug 05, 2017 10:00 am

Michal Szkudlarek wrote:Why are you looking for cameleons at night? Is it easier to find them then?


Michal it sure is, being diurnal Chameleons sleep at night typically right on the edge of the branches to avoid predation from other animals.

Simply scanning good habitat with a torch(flash light) they really stick out from the other foliage - this takes time to get your eye in when looking.
Once you're comfortable with that it's not difficult to spot them in a car headlights when driving.

In some areas and good habitat it's possible to find chameleons during the day but by nature they're extreamly good at camouflaging themselves.
User avatar
Tyrone Ping
 
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:49 am
Hometown: Durban
country: SouthAfrica

Re: West Coast - South Africa Herping Trip.

Postby Tyrone Ping » Sat Aug 05, 2017 10:02 am

Jeroen Speybroeck wrote:Oh my... Again outstanding, Tyrone! You superbly captured the texture and colours of those chameleons.

Michal, a fool can ask more questions than a wise man can answer. :P
Please take up Mario's advice. Goes for the arvalis question too. I wouldn't say this to a newby, but you aren't one.


Thank you Jeroen, much appreciated.

Chameleons certainly are a passion of mine and there is only a single cryptic species in a southern Africa I am still yet to see.
User avatar
Tyrone Ping
 
Posts: 36
Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:49 am
Hometown: Durban
country: SouthAfrica

Re: West Coast - South Africa Herping Trip.

Postby Michal Szkudlarek » Sat Aug 05, 2017 7:30 pm

Tyrone Ping wrote:
Michal Szkudlarek wrote:Why are you looking for cameleons at night? Is it easier to find them then?


Michal it sure is, being diurnal Chameleons sleep at night typically right on the edge of the branches to avoid predation from other animals.

Simply scanning good habitat with a torch(flash light) they really stick out from the other foliage - this takes time to get your eye in when looking.
Once you're comfortable with that it's not difficult to spot them in a car headlights when driving.

In some areas and good habitat it's possible to find chameleons during the day but by nature they're extreamly good at camouflaging themselves.

Do not chameleons fell prey at night?
User avatar
Michal Szkudlarek
 
Posts: 1088
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2011 12:09 pm
Location: Poland
Hometown: ...
country: Poland

Next

Return to Herping in the rest of the world

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest