BY SOFIA JOHN
While in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve during this holiday season, I was introduced to a unique group activity: frog hunting. It is somewhat like an Easter egg hunt if the Easter eggs could move. Frog hunting encourages a bit of friendly competition and sparks a spirit of exploration and discovery.
On moonless nights, frogs will be particularly active. Frogs are lunarphobic because the moonlight makes them more visible to predators. Therefore, while frog hunting be sure to bring a flashlight or a headlamp. Light is useful for catching frogs, but sound will be the most useful guide. Frogs communicate using various calls. Some calls advertise their sexiness, others warn of approaching predators, and other calls are used to discretely call over females. If you are in a particularly frog-filled area, close your eyes and listen for the different layers of sound. You should be able to distinguish between several different calls happening all at once.
To locate and catch an individual frog, walk slowly. With every step shine your flashlight across the path. Pay close attention because many frogs are very small; for example, the rain frog is not much bigger than a thumb fingernail. Also, check the underside of large leaves. Clear glass frogs and tree frogs tend to reside on large, moist leaves. Once you spot a frog, quickly and firmly place a cupped hand over it. The frog should jump into your palm. It is rather amazing how many frogs endure photo-shoots before hopping away.