Do You Believe in Ghost Frogs?
(dramatic music) – [Mark] In the rainforest of Costa Rica lives a ghost. One that we have been
chasing for many years. Yet, it has alluded us time and again. But tonight, that’s all about to change. Hear that? Oh, guys! – [Mario] Oh, my God. (animal snarls)
(dramatic percussive music) (animal roars) – Hey, everybody, I’m Mark
Laivins, and welcome back to another special adventure
brought to you by B&H Photo. Tonight, we’re going out in the jungle looking for a ghost. No, not a paranormal
ghost, a living ghost, one that we will actually find if we can locate its habitat. This animal loves moving water, so in order to find out where
we need to hike tonight, we need to use the light of day and our drone to see where
the stream systems exist on this property. First things first, before we can fly the drone,
we’ve gotta set it up. And today, we are flying
the DJI Mavic 2 Pro. This is a really awesome drone. But for us today, it’s more of a reconnaissance tool so we can see the area that we’re gonna be adventuring in tonight. And lift off. (drone whirring) All right, we are up in the sky. Oh, man, you know what? There’s like all kinds of
clouds coming in right now. This actually looks gorgeous. Check that out. So glass frogs, an aboreal frog that lives up off the ground, love river systems because that’s where they lay their eggs and
develop their tadpoles. Now, if we can locate water, there’s a pretty good chance that we could put ourselves there and listen for the
calls of the glass frog, and then locate the ghost glass frog. Okay, I’m gonna fly due east, and we wanna mark the ridges and the approximate distance to get to these streams and rivers and hopefully get eyes
– Okay. – [Mark] on one of the streams that’s closest to us as a starting point. And we want to maybe sketch the shape and some distinct features.
– Sure. – to help us get there.
– Okay. – [Mark] So you see the
ridge right in front of us. We’ll call that Ridge 1. And there’s definitely a
secondary ridge over top of it. – Okay.
– And this is the great part about scouting with a drone, you really can see the topography in an area like Costa Rica which is very mountainous and hilly and just confusing at night. I mean, right Mario. – You can easily
– Yeah. – get turned around out there in the jungle, but by having a map at our aid, it’s going to make tonight’s expedition that much more efficient. This vegetation is dense. Even from the sky, it is difficult to see anything in those trees. (dramatic music) That’s water. Got it. So you see the way that curves around. – Yeah.
– So over Ridge 1, and then on the downside of Ridge 2, the stream comes from the south and goes just north and then bends back west. – Yep.
– And then you see that cluster of rocks?
– Yep. I think that can be our kinda landmark, maybe our entry way. – [Mark] Based on the fact that that was over 2,500 meters of flight, we’re gonna estimate to get down here because of the terrain up and down, that’s gonna be about
another two kilometers. – Okay.
– Three kilometers total in hiking tonight. – Okay.
– And then you have a compass on your watch, which will
really come in handy. – [Mario] Yep, so I’ve got the map. We know where the stream is at. All we gotta do is wait
until it gets dark. And of course, bring that drone back. – I hear it. There it is, yeah. So we did a manned launch and right now we’re going
to do a catch landing. This is not for a novice drone pilot. (drone whirring) Got ya. All right, well that’s a wrap on recon. Let’s head back and wait for darkness. (ominous music) As you can see, night
has descended upon us. And it’s time to search the rainforest for the ghost glass frog. Let’s turn our headlamps on and hit the trail. (insects chirping) I’m scanning around, I’m listening. I do hear something coming from over here. I think I hear a call. Hear that? It’s coming from right up
here, let’s check this out. (dramatic music)
(insects chirping) Oh, yep, right there.
(bright music) Look at that. Our first glass frog, cool. Now, first things first, I’m just gonna leave
him alone for a second so I can get my hands wet. I don’t wanna handle
a frog with dry hands. Let me see if I can get this frog off it’s perch. Come here, little guy. Perfect. There we go. Okay. This is not the ilex or
the ghost glass frog, but it’s actually one
of the smallest species of glass frog here in Costa Rica. And it’s the spinosa glass frog. Otherwise known as the dwarf glass frog. One of the first distinct characteristics you will notice about the glass frog is besides being that really
cool translucent green, is their eyes are actually set forward as opposed to the side like we’d see in a red-eyed leaf frog or some of the other frogs that we hatch here in Costa Rica. And that forward set eye pattern is what gives him that really cool Kermit the frog look that
they’re so famous for. I think we’ve had it off
its leaf for long enough, let’s put it back and keep searching. We’ve got a long night ahead of us if we’re gonna find that ghost. We’ve gone about a kilometer east so far, and we know our final destination or the water source that we’re looking for is about three kilometers east. It looks like we need to
go a little northeast. Mario, you seeing that? – Yep, according to my
compass on my watch, yeah, if we go in this direction, it’ll be kinda slightly northeast, and then I think we’ll get on
that eastern trail as well. – It’s funny, when you
first step foot off trail, there’s always this sensation
that comes over you. It’s just like a heightened awareness. Walking on the trail feels safe, walking off the trail feels hazardous, just by nature, so you tend to move a little bit more deliberately and you just, you see more. It’s really an awesome
thing to get off trail. You’ve got a little bit of
groundwater starting here. That means the bigger
stream is definitely nearby. Let’s head off here and get
to the start of the stream. (bright music) – (gasps) Dude, fer-de-lance.
– Where? – Huge.
– Let me see. – [Mario] Holy smokes. – [Mark] Look at his head. Whoa!
– Oh, my God. Huff. That is a formidable snake, right there. Good spot, Mario. You want the snake hook? – [Mario] Uh, no, I don’t
think we’re gonna mess with it. I’m just gonna get a nice shot of it. So the fer-de-lance relies on its cryptic coloration to blend into the environment. And an animal in this position could stay and wait for hours without moving a single a muscle. The name of the game is waiting when you’re an ambush predator. And a snake like this has
all the time in the world to wait for an unsuspecting prey item. (dramatic music) – That is exactly why you have to watch every single step you take out here because your next step could be on something like that fer-de-lance. And that would be a very bad day for us. (dramatic music) It looks like it’s
flattening out a little bit which good news for us. We can really start looking. I just heard a glass frog, guys. Up this way. It’s a very quick chirp. It’s like a (chirps). (insects chirping) Here that? (chirps) Oh! Guys! We got one. Yes, oh, man, I knew I heard one. All right, here we go. Hands wet. Gonna gently (dramatic music) just take it off the leaf. I am so excited to show you this frog. And you’re going to see why we came all this way to show you the ghost of the rainforest, the ghost glass frog. How cool are those eyes? So cryptic and so unique. In my opinion, this frog has the coolest eyes in all of frogs in Central and South America. And we’re gonna break out the lights, we’re gonna break out the macro lens, and we’re gonna bring you in close so you can get a good look at why this frog is so special. Mario, you got the macro lens ready to go? – [Mario] Yep, got the lens
and the EOS R on the tripod. – And I’ve got the ghost glass frog. Oh, lookin’ right at ya. I think it sees its
reflection in your lens here and is like, “Who’s that? “That looks like me.” (bright music) – Hey, buddy.
– Let me help you there, Mario. – Okay. Back it up just a little bit. Right there. – [Mark] Trying to remain
as still as I possibly can for Mario’s shot right now, so everyone at home can
see those magnificent eyes. They look cool?
– Yeah. They’re kind of reticulated. So they’ve got this pattern on them. I’m gonna pause there. Let’s try to get a different angle on him. – [Mark] Okay, just
careful nudge it this way. – How’s he doing? Is he doing good?
– Oh, my goodness, the frog– – That’s good.
– Oh, that’s cool. – Let’s get that, let’s
get its little pads. – Yeah.
– So this species does not have a completely
transparent ventrum. However, I could see a little bit of the white sheath of intestinal track inside of its stomach. And I could actually see like a beating of the heart. – I’m glad you brought that up, Mario, because a lot of people
think that all glass frogs have a completely transparent stomach, and that is not true. In fact, it is more of the
exception than the rule when that does occur. Now, if you have seen our
previous glass frog episode, that was a species with a completely clear ventrum side, where you could actually
see the heart beating and the blood flowing through the frog, which was pretty amazing. Another cool thing about
the ghost glass frog, it is actually the largest species of glass frog in Costa Rica. So, kinda fitting that we started tonight with the dwarf glass frog or the spinosa, which is the smallest, and we land on the ghost glass frog, which is the biggest. But still pretty small. Mm, it’s winkin’ at you. I think he just complimented you, Mario. He’s like, wink, that’s a great shot. Well I hope you see now why is was worth the effort to come all the way down here to find the ghost of the rainforest, the ghost glass frog. And I do wanna give a special thank you to our friends at B&H Photo for sponsoring this episode, and putting together a number
of amazing deal packages for everybody at home. So if you go to
http://www.bhphoto.com/brave right now, you can take advantage of
those exclusive offers. Oh, and don’t forget, if you haven’t subscribed yet, make sure to hit that subscribe button and the notification bell so you don’t miss another adventure with me and crew. I’m Mark Laivins, be brave, stay wild. We’ll see ya next time. All right, let’s put
this guy back on his leaf and head home. (bright music) If you enjoyed the search
for the ghost glass frog, then definitely go and check out an exclusive video featuring
another rare species by clicking the join button
and becoming a member of the Brave Wilderness Channel. Look at how awesome the pattern on the back of that frog is. (dramatic music)
(animal growls) (birds shrieking and chirping)