Categories
Animals Photography

The Fringed Leaf Frog

The Fringed Leaf Frog (Cruziohyla craspedopus) is one of the rarest amphibians in the world.

The 3-inch creature lives a reclusive life up in the Amazon rainforest’s high canopies — it rarely visits the ground — in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

The Fringed Leaf Frog

The frog’s coloration, of course, is stunning — intermixing green, blue, and purple. It also can feature pale blue patches on its back.

The myriad colors provide the frog with superb camouflage to conceal it from hunting monkeys. It also makes a soft, croaking sound.

Like all rainforest species, the Fringed Leaf Frog faces the threat of habitat loss. So if you see one perched for a photo opportunity, remember to leave it be.

The Fringed Leaf Frog
The Fringed Leaf Frog
The Fringed Leaf Frog
Categories
Nature Travel

The beauty of Madagascar’s giant Baobab trees

The Grandidier’s Baobabs (Palmate adansonia) are giant trees indigenous to Africa, predominantly on Madagascar’s beautiful island.

Baobabs can live up to 800 to 1000 years with their unique ability to act as a water storage tank—the trees can store up to 32 gallons of water in their thick trunks. Both the animals and locals tap the trees for H20 during the dry season.

The heart of many African remedies and folklore, the iconic Baobab is often referred to as the “Tree of Life.”

The beauty of Madagascar’s giant Baobab trees
Photo: Beth Moon

The 80-plus foot trees have a circumference of 108 feet. They also feature on a 250-meter path called the Avenue of the Baobabs in Madagascar’s Menabe region. The tree is famous for producing surreal white, bat-pollinated flowers as well.

“A Caliban of a tree, grizzled, distorted old goblin with the girth of a giant, the hide of a rhinoceros, twiggy fingers clutching at empty air and the disposition of a guardian angel,” once wrote the novelist Ernestine Hill about the Baobab’s immensity.

Unfortunately, baobab trees are at risk of extinction due to climate change, with more than ten thousand disappearing each year.

Categories
Animals

The elephant trunk snake

The Elephant trunk snake (Acrochordus javanicus) is among the largest freshwater snakes in the world.

This weird-looking snake has unique wrinkly scalation and a chunky body, resembling an elephant’s trunk. Its face also looks like a pug or seal.

elephant trunk snake

Given the snake’s aquatic nature, it’s often mistaken as an eel. But the elephant trunk snake rarely leaves the water. The creature mostly lives in the streams and lagoons in Malaysia and other parts of Southeast Asia.

Non-venomous — it has a forked tongue — elephant trunk snakes make popular exotic pets.

elephant trunk snake
elephant trunk snake
Categories
Travel

Vietnam’s Magical Golden Bridge

There are two hands at the Cau Vang (Golden Bridge) on the top of Da Nang’s Ba Nang Hills in Vietnam, one to pick up the people, the other to hold the bridge together. 

Suspended nearly a mile high above sea level, the 500-foot long bridge was designed by TA Landscape Architecture in Ho Chi Minh City. Said one of its principal designer Vu Viet Anh, the Instagramable scene intends to look like a sparkling thread of “giant hands of Gods, pulling a strip of gold out of the land.”

Vietnam’s Magical Golden Bridge

In fact, the stone hands have been on top of the mountaintop for centuries and have aged beautifully over time.

The Golden Bridge is quite simply, the apotheosis of where nature and great architecture collide. See more about Vietnam’s Magical Golden Bridge in the video below. 

Vietnam’s Magical Golden Bridge
Categories
Nature

The unique Queensland Bottle Tree

The Queensland Bottle Tree, or narrow-leaved bottle tree, is native to (you guessed it) Queensland, Australia.  

The gorgeous tree sports a potbelly of sorts that gives it the look of a bottle. But its swollen trunks of water help the tree withstand temperatures of -17 degrees to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The bottle tree is also known for its intriguing squiggly lined tree bark.

The trees contain flowers that grow into seed pods as well. It sheds leaves during a dry spell.

Categories
Animals

The freaky Potoo bird

The Potoo bird (Ghost bird) from Central and South America can appear freaky.

The strange-looking bird possesses a hooked snake-like bill with a massive gape the animal uses to swallow moths and other insects.

A nocturnal insectivore, their yellow eyes glow up into massive googly balls at night. Yet, they are unrelated to owls.

Potoo bird

The potoo bird enjoys excellent camouflage, living life perched upon a tree branch during the day.

In addition to looking like a muppet, the bird may be best known for its sound, projecting a creepy melancholic song.

Potoo bird
Potoo bird
Categories
Animals

The stealthy ghost crab

The ghost crab is about as big as your hand but as fast as lightning. 

The eight-legged little creature moves across sandy beaches at 100 body lengths per second, which is blazing fast compared to the human and cheetah, which achieve speeds of 11 and 20 body lengths per second. 

The stealthy ghost crab

In other words, you’d be lucky to photograph one. Be prepared for it to dash away as soon as it gets a glimpse of you. The ghost crab typically burrows deep holes in the sand and reemerge late in the day.

But within those stalky eyes and cute little faces are teeth that growl at predators when threatened. The ghost crab is the first example of an animal that uses its stomach to communicate. 

Meanwhile, the crabs survive off insects, small clams, and other sand crabs. 

The stealthy ghost crab
The stealthy ghost crab
The stealthy ghost crab
Categories
Animals Nature Photography

The pink-eyed hover goby

The pink-eyed hover goby (Bryaninops natans) is a fish with a see-through body and yellow organs. 

No bigger than an inch, it’s so transparent you can even see its bones in its body. 

The pink-eyed goby hovers above the tips of Acropora corals in shallow lagoon reefs of the Indo-Pacific area.  

Here are few more images of the cool little fish.  

The pink-eyed hover goby
The pink-eyed hover goby
The pink-eyed hover goby
Categories
Nature Travel

The magnificent Dynjandi Waterfall in Iceland

The magnificent Dynjandi in Iceland cascades over 300 feet to give off the impression of an enormous wedding veil

The jewel of Westfjords, one of the most remote areas of the country, Dynjandi waterfall is a set of 7 cascades that span 98 feet wide at the top and 197 feet wide at its base. To get an idea of the waterfall’s scale, take a look at the human in the yellow jacket in this picture. 

The magnificent Dynjandi Waterfall in Iceland

The Icelandic term dynjandi means thunderous or resounding.

No wonder the Dynjandi waterfall is big and beautiful, one of the most impressive gushing waterfalls on Earth, and even more majestic to see it up close. 

See more images below. 

The magnificent Dynjandi Waterfall in Iceland
The magnificent Dynjandi Waterfall in Iceland
The magnificent Dynjandi Waterfall in Iceland
Categories
Nature Science Travel

How Australia’s Lake Hillier gets its pink color

Lake Hillier in the Recherche Archipelago of Western Australia off the coast of Cape Arid National Park is known for its pink color.

Scientists postulate that the lake’s solid bubblegum pink color results from the intermixing of Halobacteria and a salt-tolerant algae species called Dunaliella Salina.

How Australia's Lake Hillier gets its pink color

Halobacteria produce red pigments mixed with salt-tolerant Dunaliella Salina, creating a stunning strawberry milkshake color.

The chemical reactions between the salt and the microorganisms make the lake ten times saltier than the ocean nearby.

There are 29 other pink lakes in the world. But unlike other pink lakes that morph into different colors, Lake Hillier retains its pink hue all year round. It’s also safe to swim in.

How Australia's Lake Hillier gets its pink color
How Australia's Lake Hillier gets its pink color

The contrast between the bright pink and dark blue ocean water is also striking when viewed above. Learn more about Australia’s pink lake below.

How Australia's Lake Hillier gets its pink color