I am losing track of the days…. I know I’ve been here for 2 weeks, 3 more weeks to go. 2 days ago I did something I never thought I would be able to do; I drove to Panama City in a manual truck! It was rough, and thank God that Lynne came with me to encourage me on the way, but we made it all the way to Albrook mall, the fruit store, and back to Gamboa in one piece! We got all the supplies we needed, and groceries to boot!
The next day I set to work on the toad maze. I built an intricate setup of multiple levels and bridges and food bowls.
I was so excited to see what the toads would do in the maze. I built the maze in the morning, and as I was working, it started to rain, yay! It hasn’t rained in days, which is very bad for the frogs. We got a nice downpour for about 30 minutes, but then nothing else for the rest of the day. I finished up the maze feeling pretty good, then went to check on the toads. Alas, another toad had escaped, and 2 more were about to bust through their lids! Duct tape just doesn’t hold in this kind of weather. I trekked back up to the school and borrowed the drill and the original pieces of the lid that we cut out, then trekked back out to Santa Cruz and re-attached the lid pieces with zip ties. Let’s see those little buggers try and get out now! Muahahaha.
That night I went back and tried the first toad in the arena. He immediate hopped out of his hide pot, and looked around. He investigated an area of the arena that was the same as it was the night before, then looked at the maze, and just sort of stopped. If ever I’ve seen a toad go into information overload, it was at that moment. He looked around at the maze, hopped back and forth a little, and just sat there. I gave him half an hour, then took him out and re-did the maze completely. I don’t have a picture yet, but I’ll take one today or tomorrow and post it. I made it all one level (ground and cinder-block height), and used bricks as stairs. I ran the remaining three toads through this maze for an hour each, and each of them used it in an entirely different way. The first toad was most definitely exploring, the second toad was checking out hiding places, and the third toad found one of the food bowls and ate! I was so excited, I now have a good experimental design, and cooperative toads. And I found a 5th toad while at the school, so I have my boxes full again.
Tonight I go to BCI (Barro Colorado Island) for a talk and to do cane toad observations. I will sleep in Rachel’s office and come back on the boat in the morning. It should be fun, or at least, an experience! If it goes well, I will do this every week for the next 3 weeks, so I can get some observations on the toads in a natural setting. Things seem to be going well so far, here’s to good data for the next three weeks!
This is an awesome lizard I found near Santa Cruz... Gonatodes albogularis
Bufo typhonius... a diurnal toad!
Me and the arena, chugging along!