Thursday, 22 December 2011

Be careful where you swim!

Especially if you are a skink!

As is usually the case in this area our household water originates on the roof of the house, is collected in a catch-tank and then pumped to our main tank.  When the rain is really pouring down the flow into the catch-tank is much faster than our pump can handle and the tank overflows.  We have positioned a red plastic bucket (holding perhaps 50l) under the overflow spout to catch at least some of it.  (This is then used to water container plants and seedlings.)
At the start of this story, where we have eventually arrived, the two sticks were not in position, having been removed when bailing out some water.  The reason for the sticks is to allow animals that have fallen in to the bucket to climb out (the plastic doesn't offer enough traction for most beasts).  On looking into the bucket I noticed 2 frogs and 2 skinks therein.  Here is half of that assemblage:.
The frogs seemed quite happy, the skinks decidedly otherwise.  I decided that all 4 should be removed.  The RDS (Recently Departed Skinks) were positioned so that they would enter the nutrient chain while the frogs were kind enough to pose for a photo before heading for the foliage.
 This is a spotted Grass Frog (Limnodynastes tasmaniensis).
This has the characteristics of a Plains Froglet (Crinia parinsignifera).

The sticks were replaced (although Frances has pointed out that she has found dead frogs in there even with sticks in place - she concludes frogs are stupid).  I do have questions about how the animals arrive in the bucket. 
  • Since they seem pretty agile it is unlikely that they fall in by accident.  
  • Perhaps they sense arthropods in the water and seize the moment for an easy snack?  
  • My favourite thought is that the bucket is the amphibian/reptile equivalent of a cenote (the sacred wells of the Maya, into which sacrifices were thrown).   As the day of these observations is one on which the Mayan Long Count calendar switches to a new major cycle (thanks Denis) it seemed appropriate to contemplate small green vertebrates running through the garden wearing funny hats and hurling one of their number  into the bucket.  No dafter than many thoughts about organised religion.
Incidentally, referring back to Denis' post, it is now (in Carwoola at least) the day after the calendar shifted so the doomsday crap is just that. 

1 comment:

Denis Wilson said...

Nice post, Martin, with cute seasonal "Bah humbugging" built in.
You are doing well with your frog IDs, it seems.