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  • Hi Sherie and Brett, Hope you are keeping well and the camp is getting busier by the day. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you both for a fantastic Easter weekend at nDzuti, we had a fantastic time and would highly recommend it to anyone needing to escape the city and relax. We still talk about the rhino that Brett chased and the lioness with the baby cubs. We will definitely be seeing you guys again, maybe sooner than later!! Thanks again for your hospitality Sally & Simon
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Things go croak and jump in the night.

Published 22 November 2011 under Travelogue • Comments: 0
Things go croak and jump in the night.
During this season of plenty, our nights in the bush are filled with a cacophony of sounds that are often unrecognisable. Frogs are responsible for many of these and even for the most determined nocturnal explorer, the frogs in question can be very difficult to find. They can be tiny, well camouflaged and concealed in thick vegetation, and even seem to be ventriloquial. To start with the basics; the distinctive and loud guttural kwaak kwaak chorus from the swimming pool on summer nights is the product of a group of male toads calling in unison to attract females. Frogs generally sound less guttural, appear more slender and spend more time in water than toads do. Actually, we group frogs and toads into one order of the amphibians- Anura- meaning “without a tail”   and referring to the absence of a tail in the adult stages of these amphibians.
 
 Within this seemingly chaotic breeding site, the position from which individual males choose to call is important. The male has a special “territorial call” he uses should a competitor intrude into his territory. Still within the breeding site, frogs use a distinctive “release call” if a male accidently clasps another male in the sexual frenzy. Female frogs use the “release call” to terminate mating. Fertilisation is external in frogs and the male clasps the female in one three types of amplexus. The eggs and spermatozoa need to deposited in close proximity to each other to ensure fertilisation.
  Isn’t it astounding that within the intense and hectic breeding site frogs are able to hear and be heard and find order through a somewhat involved system of exchange?  The other common call we are all bound to be familiar with, is the distress call of a frog. These scream-like calls are emitted with the mouth open when a predator is sighted or tries to catch a frog. Grey Tree Frogs take on a human-like quality when they flee and “scream” to warn the others of a boomslang or a spotted bush snake that is sighted hunting frogs in a tree or along the beams of a roof.

Typically of late fascinating stories like this one have a stern environmental warning at the end. The frog saga is no different, with all their ingenious adaptations and advanced communication, our frogs and toad numbers are on the decline. Because of their dual aquatic and terrestrial life, their exposed eggs and porous skin frogs are particularly vulnerable to environmental changes. Frog populations throughout the world have crashed significantly in the last 20 years. We have 135 species of frogs in South Africa and 15% of them are listed as threatened. We do need to ask; are our frogs dying to tell us something?
 
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