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Chasing Frogs in the Parks at Night

04 Dec

When you want to go herping in Bangkok, a good place to start is with the frogs. I first came to Thailand in the month of September, near the tail end of the rainy season, and it was a perfect time to find frogs calling. Just go outside at night with a flashlight, start walking around, and follow the frog calls.

Here is a Four-lined Tree Frog found by tracking its calls to a bush in a park in downtown Bangkok.

Four-lined Treefrog Polypedates leucomystax


Here is a treefrog in the act of calling in a Bangkok park:

Four-lined Treefrog Polypedates leucomystax


A classic in Bangkok is the fat and cute Asian Painted Frog:

Asian Painted Frog Kaloula pulchra


The Asian Grass Frog, also known as a “Cricket Frog” for its characteristic calls, can be heard almost everywhere. This one is calling from a marsh in Bangkapi.

Cricket Frog Fejervarya limnocharis calling


Common Indian Toads are indeed common in the parks. This one was crossing a road at Chatuchak late at night.

Common Indian Toad Bufo melanostictus


One of the hardest but most rewarding frog calls to track down is the Ornate Narrow-mouthed Frog. This tiny frog makes a loud, high-pitched noise that couldn’t possibly come from such a small creature. It likes to call from under a bit of cover, so the combination of its tiny size and secretive nature can make it difficult to find at night. But when you do find it, you will see how such a little frog can be so loud:

Ornate Chorus Frog Microhyla fissipes


A related species, usually found near more permanent bodies of water than its cousin, is the Darkside Narrow-mouthed Frog:

Darkside Narrowmouth Frog Microhyla heymonsi


One of my funniest herping stories came in this manner. I was chasing down a peeping frog when I felt the presence of a security guard behind me. I had been expecting this encounter, being as I was on a commercial construction site. These pools of water teeming with frogs were about to give way to the latest condominium complex, (a little interplay between Bangkok’s new material wealth and its ancient biological diversity). I answered the guard’s questioning look with a clear “doo gobp khrap” (Thai for “I watch a frog”) and showed him the pictures of frogs on my camera. He smiled, so I apologized politely with “Khawthot khrap” and a Thai wai and started to walk out towards the entrance. Before I could take two steps the guard stopped me and insisted I stay. I turned back to chase the little Round-tongued Floating Frog. Just when it was about to get through a fence, the guard stepped into the mud and directed it towards me! I caught the frog, but it wouldn’t stay still for the voucher pictures and I had trouble getting a clear shot. Noticing my difficulties, the guard squatted down, placed his hand over the frog, waited for me to get ready, and then took his hand off for the perfect picture!


Here is another one found calling nearby:

Round-tongued Floating Frog Occidozyga martensii calling


I hope you find the same helpful assistance in your own herping adventures!

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Posted by on December 4, 2013 in Herping adventures

 

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