The Western Ghats of India, are a nature lover’s paradise. Thousands of species of flora and fauna thrive here, some found nowhere else in the world. And among the Ghats’ crown jewels is the tiny village of Amboli. For most, it is a hill station to be visited in monsoons, for its magical mists and roaring waterfalls. But the mists hide another treasure – nature’s wonders found mostly by flashlight and macro lens. Sharing a few images of these beauties.
The previous night’s rain leaves a string of pearls on a branch, portals to a wondrous world
Kermit the frog has an Indian cousin – the Malabar Gliding Frog (Rhacophorus malabaricus). These amazing creatures have wide webbed feet which act as wings, allowing them to glide smoothly from the treetops to the ground. Most nights however, they are found snoozing on a branch above a pond or a stream.
For its size, the Ornate Narrow Mouthed Frog (Microhyla ornata) is an extremely loud creature. At night, these 1 inch frogs can be found around small water bodies, calling out to a potential mate. And their calls can be heard over several hundred meters.
And where there are frogs, there are bound to be snakes. The Malabar Pit Viper (Trimeresurus malabaricus) is a venomous serpent, found on the western coast of India. They derive their name from the heat sensing pits ahead of their eyes, with which they track down their prey. Their diet consisting mostly of frogs, lizards and rodents.
Another common snake in these parts is the Green Vine Snake (Ahaetulla nasuta). These slender beauties normally feed on frogs and lizards, using their superb camouflage to mimic a vine hanging from a tree. They also have superb binocular vision (for a snake) which comes in handy, tracking down prey in the dark.
Snakes never stop growing in their lifetimes. As a result they outgrow their skin, even their eyes caps, which are shed regularly. Here we can see the the old eye cap fogging up, and the snake would shed this skin in a few weeks.
The Beddome’s Cat Snake i) is one more species found only in the Western Ghats. A relative of the more common Ceylon Cat Snake, this is a mildly venomous ‘rear fanged snake’, which means it injects its venom only after it has caught its victim. And of course, it gets its name from those shiny cat like eyes. ( Boiga beddome
On a walk through the Amoli Forest Park, came across this awesome looking critter. Unfortunately, none of us could identify the scorpion species – but this poser certainly looked the business.
Not exactly the best shot – but it shows a trick up the scorpion’s sleeve. Against the bark of a tree, this tiny beauty is nigh invisible. But shine a UV light on it, and it shines like a beacon. It is believed that scorpions’ entire bodies are light detecting sensors, and they use this sensitivity to detect shelter in their environments.
The Bicolored Frog ( Clinotarsus curtipes) is another amphibian species found only in the Western Ghats. These strikingly coloured frogs assume brighter colours in the mating season. Seen here is a male, on the lookout for partner.
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