Herps or Herpetofauna are words describing reptiles and amphibians collectively. And when one goes looking for these its called herping. Monsoons are evidently the best season when frog activity is at its peak and snakes follow due to the ample availability of prey. Mrugaya Xpeditions conducts herping trails in Goa and Amboli during this season. Both having species unique to each region and elevation.
With the rains commencing in time and continuing without much breaks from June till September we had a very busy herping season this year. Some of the trips were laced with a large number of individuals but fewer species whereas some the exact opposite.
We covered diverse habitats in search of these. We walked on laterite plateaus with heavy rains combined with strong winds lashing us at times, in lush green deciduous and evergreen forests, wading through forest streams even walking on the road many time. Some of these areas were infested with leeches but none of these mattered when we were rewarded with good sightings during the trails. Here are some of the numbers of species we managed during the entire herping season.
20 species of snakes
26 species of amphibians including one caecilian
6 species of geckos
3 species of calotes including Draco
6 species of skinks
Some excellent images were made during this season. Some of the moments were a visual treat but couldn't be captured on camera. These were a Malabar pit viper poncing on a Fejervarya species of frog, a couple of Malabar pit vipers giving a good view of their fangs while yawning, A cat snake feeding on the eggs of bush frog up in the tree, banded geckos mating, Dancing frogs foot flagging and many more.
Sharing some of the images that were made during the trips. .
Some others which could not be captured include Varanus benghalensis, Indian Black Terapin, Draco dussumieri, Montane trinket snake.
Herping season is not just about reptiles and amphibians, but lot of other micro fauna too. it is also about many wild flowers blooming at particular times during the season. We also encountered a good number of orchids during our trips to Amboli and Goa. And this is also the best time to look at the Bioluminescent fungii glowing at night.
Some other memorable sightings included sightings of two Leopards, one each in Netravali Wildlife Sanctuary and Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary; a pack of 12 Wild Dogs (Dhole) in Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary, Black-naped Hare, Small Indian Civet, Indian Palm Civet, White-bellied Wood Rat, Brown Fish Owl, Rufous-bellied Eagle, a pair of Great Hornbills,
As the herping season almost comes to a close, (Rains not over yet so still hoping for a few more days of herping) we thank all the people who joined us during our trails during the days and nights in the forests and plateaus, sharing their knowledge with us. Most importantly we thanks the people of Verle at Aangan, people of Talde at Jungle Trails Homestay and Mrugaya Nature Retreat at Amboli for providing excellent food and hospitality for our guests. Until we go back on these trails next year for an even more exciting season!!
You can now join us on our birding trails from October onwards till March end. You can find more details in the Upcoming section on our website.