The Namaqua rain frog

image The Namaqua rain frog was first spotted near Port Nolloth in 1926, just after the first diamond had been found there. This frog prefers to hide from snakes under the sand and needs no water during the tadpole stage.

Like plants have adapted to the harsh climate, so have reptiles, amphibians, image insects and spiders adapted to living in the Richtersveld desert. Tortoise beetles, for example, use a waxy covering to control water retention and temperature, while other insects are able to manufacture their own water.  At first sight the desert may look dead, but at a closer look one will spot life camouflaged everywhere’stone grasshoppers on the rocks, praying mantids in quartzite outcrops, and the world’s smallest tortoise, the (Namaqua) speckled padloper, sheltered in cracks in rocks.

While elephants, lions, and rhinos have long abandoned this area, other large mammals inhabit the Richtersveld, though they are more rarely seen. In fact, for an arid region, the Richtersveld is extremely rich in fauna. The Hartmann’s mountain zebra occurs in the mountains of the Richtersveld National Park and sometimes strays into the World Heritage Site. Antelopes in the area include the gemsbok, klipspringer, duiker, vaalribbok, and steenbok, while the black backed jackal and the Cape and bat-eared foxes are also present. On the coast, brown hyaenas can be spotted at night feeding on dead seals, seal pups and sea birds.

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