JBL Indian Ocean Expedition: part 4 - searching for chameleons in the jungle

The national parks around Andasibe are located east of the capital and only 150 km from the coast of the Indian Ocean. Our team wanted to obtain biotope data which would show them first hand how our well-known terrarium animals, such as the endemic chameleon species or the beautiful day geckos live.

While waiting for our guide at the car park at the edge of the national park we found our first chameleon, geckos, big orb-weaver spiders and skinks. Once he’d arrived we went uphill into the rainforest, but at such a speed we wouldn’t have seen a prosimian if it was sitting there at the side of the path. Having fallen several hundred meters behind taking pictures of the landscape, I ran up to the guide to explain that we hadn't booked an endurance run through the jungle. But he didn't let me get a word in edgeways because he wanted us to see a group of lemurs in the branches, 100 m down the mountain again (of course!). In the meantime we had discovered a huge grasshopper and the guide didn’t at first understand why we didn't want to admire his attraction. It wasn't that we found lemurs boring, but our main interest were crawling animals and their habitats. He signalled that he understood and immediately resumed his sprint uphill and downhill through the branches. We didn't see a thing, of course.

Once we had arrived back at the parking lot completely exhausted, I had a serious conversation with the guide and gave him the choice: no more endurance running or he could go on his own. The plans for the following days were heavily modified and the distances drastically reduced. We just needed more time in one place so that we could quietly search for animals and find time to unpack the measuring instruments.

After that it was fine. We found lizards and even snakes and frogs. The humidity was interesting: at noon, at the highest temperatures of almost 30 °C, it had 59 %, its lowest value, while in the evening hours around 9:30 pm it rose to almost 100 %. That was the highest relative humidity value we had ever measured on an expedition!

The third part was a report about abject poverty in the capital of Madagascar: JBL Indian Ocean Expedition: part 3 - abject poverty in the capital of Madagascar

The fifth part is about the nocturnal search for frogs: JBL Expedition Indian Ocean: part 5 - nocturnal search for frogs

© 26.11.2018
Heiko Blessin
Heiko Blessin
Dipl.-Biologe

Tauchen, Fotografie, Aquaristik, Haie, Motorrad

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