It’s good to be back (+ the story of a frog)

April 1, 2012

Outdoors

First of all, I’m back. After taking a few weeks (okay, months) off to wrap up my research on the 5th edition of Moon Virgin Islands (out this fall people!), I’m glad to be back to the blog.

There are a lot of things I could write about today: the BVI Spring Regatta which wraps up this weekend, St. Croix Food & Wine which is just 2 week away, or the ominous news of American Eagle planning to pull out of the Caribbean in March 2013.

But earlier this week I had the occasion to be outside in the yard at night, tending a few houseplants. I came across a tiny frog who glistened under the porch light and stood stock still as I came remarkably close with my camera lens. And the little, co-operative creature (shown in the photo at the right) has got me thinking about amphibians and reptiles.

Many visitors to the Virgin Islands are taken aback at first by the pulsing, almost deafening, song of the bo-peeps, or coquis, at night. The call of these small frogs is often at first mistaken for the sound of crickets or cicadas. In the rainforest, they sing all day; in drier habitats, they sing only at night, or after a rain. Listen closely, and you will hear that they are saying their name: “ko-kee, ko-kee.”

Less melodious is the song of the giant toad, a brown, blotchy creature that can grow as large as a softball. They hide out during the day but often sing the praises of the rain at night.

One of the most delightful animals in the Virgin Islands is the lizard. Newcomers never fail to delight in their omnipresence, agile movement, and—in some cases—impressive shows. The most common kind of lizard is the ground lizard, a small, brown lizard that munches on insects. Tree lizards change colors to suit their surroundings, and males have rounded sacs under their throats. When they want to be threatening, the males will inflate their pouch and do “push-ups” in place.

The third common type of lizard is the house gecko, or wood slave. These helpful creatures are used to people and are often found inside. House geckos have Velcro-like feet that allow them to climb on just about any surface. They feed on insects (great for killing mosquitoes that make it inside) and are active at night.

Now, I’m not quite sure what kind of frog the little creature outside my window was, but I’m glad he’s there. I suspect he’s a bo-peep — the smooth skin looks familiar — but I’m no scientist.

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About Susanna

Susanna is a Tennessee native transplanted to the BVI, and the author of Moon Handbooks Virgin Islands.

View all posts by Susanna

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