Albino Toadlet

For those who know me really well, it is common knowledge that my favorite kinds of animals have always been herps, which is to say reptiles and amphibians (lizards, turtles, snakes, frogs, etc.).

Consequently, while here in Perú I have been on the look for reptiles and amphibians everywhere I go. I will add a post at some point with photos of all of the different reptiles and amphibians I have seen and/or captured while here in Perú, but for the moment enjoy this little tidbit.

Last week, while visiting the tree nursery in the landfill where I sometimes work, I noticed baby toads hopping all over the ground. Seriously, with every other step I took, you could note tiny, brown figures hopping along the ground. I wasn’t too surprised to be surrounded by toads since there is a small riverbed near the landfill that fills with water during the rainy season, but it was an unexpected occurrence. There must have been eggs and tadpoles there for some time, which had finally metamorphosed into toadlets.

Anyways, while walking around the landfill I noticed a small hopping figure that looked a bit, well, different. It stood out, and on closer inspection I realized because its legs were PINK! I quickly scooped it up, examined it more closely, and discovered it had red eyes, which would indicate that the toadlet had some form of albinism. It was an awesome discovery; usually albino animals don’t survive for long in the wild given their atypical colorations. After a brief photo shoot, I put the tiny toad inside the tree nursery with the hope that he would be safe from predators for sometime within its protective mesh. We shall see. Enjoy some pics!

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Unfortunately I neglected to take any pictures of a normal looking toadlet for comparison, but rest assured they look anatomically identical but with brown skin and bumps.

Until next time,

MGB

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Peace Corps Perú, round 3

Well, it’s official. For a while I have been considering staying a 3rd year in Perú, and after submitting an application and having a successful interview last Friday, that dream has become a reality.

Once I complete my regular Peace Corps service in Caraz at the end of July, I will be assuming a new role as Peace Corps Volunteer Leader (PCVL) here in Áncash. What this means is that I will be living in a new city (Huaráz), working with a new counterpart (TBD), and assuming some new responsibilities regarding Volunteer support (helping my fellow Volunteers have successful services) and site development (working with my regional coordinator to find new sites for future Peace Corps Volunteers). To my friends and family reading this, don’t worry; I get a month of vacation after completing my normal service, so expect to see me sometime in August!

I’m very excited, but for the moment I am just trying to focus on finishing my service strong here in Caraz. Expect an update at a future point in time when I am all situated in my new role.

To celebrate the new position, I decided to reward myself with some lizard catching out behind my house. With the help of a professor from the U.S. (Dr. Edgar Lehr of the Illinois Wesleyan University), the lizards have been identified as Stenocercus chrysopygus. Check out the photos of the lizards I noosed below!

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A male specimen
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Note the orange mites in the neck flap
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He’s got a bright yellow belly
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Size comparison (I forgot to bring a ruler)

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Another male, but this one with a regenerated tail
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A female specimen
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Giving me some side-eye

I had a great time catching the lizards, and am looking forward to catching more almost as much as I am looking forward to starting my 3rd year here in Perú.

Until next time,

MGB

P.S. No lizards were harmed in the making of this blog post.