Friday, October 21, 2011

The joys of camping - creepy crawlies

I’m not a particularly froggy, reptile kind of person, but I love camping even though I know I'll have to share my space with creatures I'm not particularly fond of. 
Making the most of the late afternoon sun and a rare internet connection.
Sturt National Park. Outback NSW.

I enjoy hearing frogs at night croaking reassuringly in dams and waterways - it’s one way to know the area is healthy and that things are well. Snakes, not so much, particularly when camping and they seem keen to share the area, especially at night when you need to answer the call of nature. They could well be lurking in an all too familiar way nearby, fangs fully charged and ready to puncture an innocent limb.
Possibly a mulga snake, aka 'hiding under the picnic table snake'
about 1.5 metres long - I wasn't going to get closer to measure - could have been longer.

This frog, possibly the Desert Tree Frog, and barely as big as my thumb, appeared stealthily on a picnic table at Sturt National Park near Tibooburra (outback NSW).  It was almost dark with the full moon rising, when I became aware of his intense gaze. He sat and watched me curiously, lazily stretching and peering at the keyboard with apparent interest. He had the cutest little fingers and toes and seemed to be getting ready to show a closer interest in the keyboard when I reached for my camera. The blighter! He rapidly sidled over to the gas stove, and squeezed himself into a tight bundle trying to burrow between the metal stove and the wooden table, delicate little arms and legs tucked in coyly.
Possibly the Desert Tree Frog. Aka 'cute little golden frog'
This next fellow appeared on the mesh screen of the tent completely without warning. Whether he’d climbed up or leaped I don’t know, but once he saw me he stretched his arms and legs – boy were they long – and ninja jumped a 90 degree angle from one face of the tent to another. He was determined to persevere and win over the slippery mesh. Again as soon as I whipped the camera out he quickly shuffled off keeping his arms and legs close.

Totally forgetting about him, I wrestled myself into my sleeping bag. Torch out, zippered in and snuggling down…when…flop! Waaarrrggghhhhhhhhhhh. I sat up, frantically trying to find arms, torch, and alien invader. The wretch had found a miniscule gap in the tent zip and obviously decided that the inside of the tent was more enticing than the outside, snuck through, and leaped agilely and delicately onto me. I’m reasonably tolerant usually, (well, some might disagree I suppose) but I don’t intend to share my sleeping space with a 4 footed, web toed, gorilla armed frog. No matter if he’s rare, endangered or cute, it’s simply not a happening thing. Removal was the only realistic possibility. Before I'd unzipped my bag, hubby unceremoniously evicted him.

The 'way too friendly Ninja frog' - home near Wentworth NSW.
Goannas are another thing entirely, one look at those massive claws and I'm happy for them to stalk off in the other direction. This one was over a metre long.
The 'I'm not talking to you goanna'
The following guy was keen not to be photographed. As I shuffled around the tree constantly peering upward with camera to eye, hoping to avoid snakes, spiky grasses and mega bindi prickles, he kept pace with me placing the branch between us. By sheer sneakiness I got this photo.
The 'blending into the tree lizard'
Some lizards are ever so delicate and shy. I suppose this one had discovered that the white covered rock was warmer than the surrounding ones. It's about 10cm long.
The cute 'keep out of my sun lizard' 
Oh. my. goodness. The bearded dragon. Mating season. GET OFF MY ROAD YOU STUPID BLOODY INTRUDER 4WD OR I'LL HAVE YOUR WHEELS OFF. Squillions of them, on roads, atop rocks or spiky bushes, all being ruggedly territorial and defiant. They didn't give ground happily or readily as evidenced by the squashed bodies along the roads. Not many cars pass each day (maybe 6 on a busy day) so I suppose they... nah, they're just bloody minded.
This is my territory and you'd better remember it.
aka 'bloody minded bearded dragon'
The slower moving Shingleback. Kind of nice in a stumpy tailed way. Reminds me of the lizards kids used to keep as pets. Do kids still keep lizards?
The 'please don't run over me' Shingle Back lizard

Where do you enjoy unwinding? What is it about that place that works for you?



Michelle said...

oh beautiful photos. LOVE the goanna, I had the pleasure of seeing my first one last time I was at Cairns. I love them. I actually don't mind reptiles. Love the bearded dragons too.... Spiders... another story entirely. Sounds like you had a fun time even with the unwanted the flatmates.

sue said...

Michelle, we've run into goannas quite a bit cycling - they can be a bit intimidating when they're on a mission or frightened. I really wanted to see a Thorny Devil, but didn't find one. Strangely we didn't see any spiders to speak of. I thought of you often, wondering if you'd like some of the places we visited, mostly they were pretty basic, but spectacular and so peaceful --- and the stars were breathtaking! Looking forward to a catchup and hearing about your escapade ;)

Ms. Becky said...

ha! thanks for the chuckles Sue. you do know how to tell a story. I'm not choosy about where I like to unwind. any place where I can be horizontal is perfect...
happy weekend to you!

Bob said...

... and here's me paying for Nature Channel when it's better right here!

sue said...

Good to see you Becky, I'm pleased you chuckled as that kind of lightness doesn't come naturally, so I'm glad it worked out.

Bob!!! welcome back :D
I was hoping you'd be up to visiting soon, and here you are. I've got some more Nature stuff planned, and hopefully they'll provide a bit of entertainment for you as you convalesce. Cheers, and have a great weekend.

Lenny Lee* said...

hi miss sue! wows! cool pictures! i love lizards but for sure i dont wanna sleep with one. ha ha. we got some little green lizards when its warm and its fun playing with them. i didnt ever go camping but it sounds pretty cool. maybe i could go some day.
...smiles and sunshine from lenny

sue said...

Lenny, welcome, great to see you here. Camping is cool, but I'd recommend a zipped up tent so the lizards and other animals can't get in and share your bed! Hope to see you again sometime.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue .. like Lenny - I sure don't want to sleep with one! Had a confrontation with winding snake in the Okavango reed hidden loos .. glad to get out! Loved seeing the lizards in Southern Africa ..

Just having space and time away - freedom of thought and no worries for a while! Cheers - but Lenny's smiles and sunshine really says it all .. Hilary

sue said...

Hilary, I think someone else mentioned you writing your memoirs, sounds interesting! I've heard those South African snakes are deadly - I'd hate to come across one in the loo. Space and time away is wonderful - we had many years when it simply didn't/couldn't happen and are making up for it now at long last. I'm beginning to breathe more easily.

Lenny's smiles and sunshine were a delightful gift! I hope the rest of your weekend is restful in many ways. Sue

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sue - thanks .. I expect there'd be lots of exaggeration in any memoirs I wrote .. but I guess tall stories can be fun. I lead a pretty dull life .. just spiced up with a few adventures ... and a blogging mind! That's certainly opened up things.

That's great that you're able to relax a little more - and your visits to China are great - I'd love to hear more of how that 'love affair' started ..

Certainly life is full if Lenny's around and it is sunny now! Some African wind is sweeping up bringing a little warmth - before the harshness, that they're threatening, sets in! You too have a great weekend .. Cheers Hilary

Empty Nest Insider said...

I agree with Bob that this is better than the Nature Channel! I was told that some frogs bring good luck, but I still wouldn't want to cuddle up with one either!