Frogs and Toads
Updated: Aug 2, 2019
Frogs and toads are abundant and diverse at Sylvan. We have a day shift and a night shift, with the occasional crossover.
The tiny poison dart frogs are mostly seen by day, although they do prefer overcast or wet weather, and are most active around dawn or dusk. I've found the Granular Poison Dart Frog (with its red body and greenish legs) to be quite easy to locate at night as it sleeps on a leaf or low branch. They even call at night on occasion. This species and the larger Green and Black Poison Dart Frog both call, making a much-repeated buzzy note. The latter species is easily seen along the last hilly part of the waterfall trail and up the numerous rocky seeps throughout the property. It is, however, quite difficult to photograph! My best effort so far is below. It shows very well until that moment the camera or phone is trained on it when it will hop under a fallen leaf or tuck into a crevice. The smallest (and most difficult to find) member of this group is the Lowland Rocket Frog, a tiny brown frog with white lines along its sides and upper belly.
Our most common amphibian is the Litter Toad, which breeds on the mossy rocks surrounding the waterfalls. All sizes and colors can be found here, from tiny dark juveniles to pink or ocher backed adults, all with their distinctive black sides. It can be found mostly by day and occasionally at night.
At night a different crowd emerge. The open areas around our buildings host so many Cane Toads it is hard to walk for fear of stepping on one. Two occupy the drains outside the kitchen, one keeps patrol by the front gate. Another giant amphibian that is quite abundant is the Smoky Jungle Frog. This dapper creature lays its eggs in small bodies of water and adds a layer of foam to prevent desiccation. It's booming calls are a feature of summer nights. Another loud-voiced occupant is the Tungara Frog. This small, rough-skinned frog resembles a toad. It calls from the drainage ditches and puddles, filling its abdomen with air and quickly transferring the air to the throat like a set of bellows, producing a loud, plaintive call.
In the forest at night it's possible to see a number of treefrog species, the largest of which is the Gladiator. The Rainforest Toad is a handsome, medium sized species that is mostly active at night on the forest floor.
We already have a long list of amphibians at Sylvan, and we hope to document many more during our bioblitzes and excursions!