The longdrop. Everyone has stories to tell about the longdrop. Visits to the toilet on camp can require a bit of thought and preparation but squatting in the forest has its perks. For wildlife lovers, like ourselves, trips to the longdrop can be very interesting indeed!
As you walk towards the toilets on camp, you’ll notice some suspicious scuttling beneath you- little orange and grey blurs scurry away into their burrows as you approach. These are the longdrop crabs. If you walk gently enough, you can catch a glimpse of the Uca tetragonon and Cardisoma carnifex crabs who are on patrol day and night. They’re quite shy creatures so you never really get to look at them for too long. But on some occasions, when they are perhaps not paying enough attention to us humans, their delayed reactions mean they get a shock when they run into our feet instead of their home!
Meet Jeff. The longdrop Chameleon!
He’s often on guard just outside, sleeping on his favourite tree most of the time. Nevertheless, we love it when Jeff comes out to say “Mbola Tsara”. He is a beautiful Furcifer pardalis who is quite content.
Recently, as we’ve enetered the wet season, we’ve been introduced to some new members on camp. These Golden orb-web are settling into camp, even at the longdrop! They have a black body, yellow markings with red and black striped legs; they build the most incredible golden stranded webs that are ridiculously strong.
The longdrop is a place of privacy… or so you would think. When you’re busy on the loo, sometimes you can hear a rustle in the trees above you. You look up and in the beam of your head torch see two bright eyes staring back at you. By day it’s the Black lemurs that are out to say hello but by night the Sportive Lemurs come out to play. Black lemurs are endemic to a small part of northern Madagascar in Sambirano forest, the females are an orangey brown colour. They can be quite nosy at the longdrop but don’t stick around for long!
This hognose snake gave us a slithery surprise. The Hognose is the most common snake seen here in Nosy Be, with a very bold and distinctive pattern down each side. He loitered around the longdrop for quite some time for us to admire him …clearly he just needed a wee!
With all this excitement, time at the longdrop can be time well spent!
By Amy Wright – Madagascar Field Communications Officer
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