Some of Nature's less adorable...

17th July 2012
I've encountered some of Nature's less adorable creatures in the last couple of days. First, I was walking in long grass on a flood plain and found that there were hundreds of Blister beetles sunning themselves on the tops of the tall elephant grasses.

At first, I thought it might be their mating time, but there were singles and doubles and triples in equal number, so I'm not sure whether they were competing for females or whether it was a 'social' gathering!

Blister beetles are so called because they release a toxin as a defence mechanism when provoked. This toxin (Catharidin) causes the skin to blister rapidly, and while not very painful, it takes a long time to heal. They warn predators of their toxicity with bright aposematic colouration.

I then came across beautiful large Puff Adder back in camp, which we managed to remove (safely via a laundry basket!) and transport to a new home out in the bush. Puff Adders are unusual in the reptile world in that they give birth to live young, a characteristic known as viviparity.

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