Per the ancient lore, part 24

cuban treefrog Osteopilus septentrionalis high in fronds of date palm I think
Okay, no cheating now by looking at the image tags, page tags, or past Ancient Lore posts: what’s the topic here?

I’ll provide a little hint: This was taken on the same evening as two Lore posts back, with the help of the same function of the camera. Ah ah! No scrolling now – you have to rely on memory. It was only two weeks ago.

Figure it out yet? Don’t you hate it when people challenge you to trivial little bullshit like this, as if it’s a reflection of your comparative cleverness?

So the first bit is, we’re down to the Reptiles/Amphibians folder again. Do you want me to pause here while you give it another go?

More specifically, our subject is that bright pinkish spot down towards the bottom and slightly left, which is the reflection of the camera flash from the dilated eyes of a Cuban treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis,) perched up there in the fronds of what I believe is a date palm. I was scoping out the area using the infra-red function of the camera, and believe me, frogs’ eyes reflect infra-red at least as much as they do visible light, possibly more.

Almost the same image in infra-redBut you don’t have to believe me though, because I can show you – trust me, I’ll never require you to trust me. It’s easy to see why I exclaimed, “Whoa!” when the lens pointed in this critter’s direction. In fact, it made me regret that we (remember, I was out there with my brother that evening) never saw something that I’ve caught a few times in the same park, which was an alligator floating in the water. Their eyes are super-reflective, shining back brilliantly orange as brightly as a road reflector, better than any other animal that I’ve seen. One night, from a moderate distance, I caught the reflection in a water channel, and slowly crept closer to try and see more of the gator. I was fairly certain, from the size of the channel and the bare fact that I never did make out any aspect of its head, that it was a pretty small specimen, but before I could determine this for sure, it was spooked by my approach and dipped out of sight beneath the surface. Alligators generally have different reputations, depending on whether you live in Florida and have firsthand experience of them, or elsewhere and rely on the stories and folklore. Bluntly, they’re pretty shy unless it’s an area where they’re habituated to close contact, and then they’re largely blasé. This was not such an area.

A more indicative encounter, if you can call it that, occurred another night when I bicycled down to the park. Most of the ride could take place near streetlights and adequate illumination that made a headlamp unnecessary, so I arrived at the park riding dark, as it were. The entrance was better than sixty meters from the water’s edge and I was coasting as silently as it’s possible to get, but the moment I came into the pool of light from the first of the parking lot streetlamps, there came a frenetic splashing from the vicinity of the boat ramps, where at least one alligator (which sounded sizable) beat a hasty retreat into the water to avoid any potential contact. Just remember that if you’re thinking of starting trouble with me.

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