Return of the Foam Nest Frogs – Sarah-Estelle Sangster

With an average of 80mm to date across Kapama Game Reserve, some of the previously dry mud pans and water holes are slowly filling with water. Almost overnight the foam nest frogs set to work and there are now nests of varying shapes and sizes at all of the dams and watering holes. The grey tree frog – more commonly referred to as the foam nest frog – is the largest of our tree frogs. The common name comes from the whitish clumps of foam that they construct as ‘nests’ in which they lay their eggs. The nests are always constructed on some branch or object over, and often many metres above, water. The females excrete a sticky liquid which they kick into a froth with their back legs. Into this foam they lay up to 1000 eggs which are fertilised by, often many, attendant males. The foam protects the eggs and keeps the eggs and small tadpoles out of the water avoiding predation. About five days after hatching the small tadpoles wriggle out of the foam and drop directly into the water, where they continue to grow and complete their metamorphosis. This morning we were lucky enough to actually witness 2 foam nest frogs busy constructing their nest which was fascinating.

We also had a hilarious sighting of a female warthog and her three youngsters. They must have been only 1-2 weeks old. As we came around the corner the three youngsters were standing in a row in the middle of the road blocking our path. As we stopped to take photos they cautiously and courageously approached us. This was a surprise to us as they are usually very nervous and run away with their tails in the air. They continued towards us and then stopped, froze and ran away from us at high speed. All this time the mother was busy feeding by the side of the road, not really paying much attention to the cheeky behaviour of her youngsters! Once they had composed themselves they approached us once more, this time coming even closer to investigate the strange large green object on wheels in front of them. We couldn’t help but laugh which once again sent them running in circles at high speed. It was a hilarious and entertaining sighting – I think if we had seen nothing else after that we would have been happy!



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