Tag Archives: frogs

Frogblog update: They come knocking!

It was the kind of Southern summer night that makes you long for winter in Minnesota. The heat was enough to wilt Trump’s rug, and the air was so thick you could cut it with a sharp tongue.

Tree frog.Suddenly on our sliding patio door, there appeared a primordial being. Not a mere raven, tapping, tapping, oh no, but a hyla cinerea, peering, leering at us with massive eyes and gripping the glass with four elastic, futuristic feet.

What was his purpose? Maybe he’d seen me capturing and relocating some tadpoles a few days earlier and wanted revenge, or just a status report on the young ‘uns. Of course, frogs don’t usually show any “parental investment” beyond mating and laying eggs, but with my luck, maybe I’d ticked off the new age dad of those tads.

frog_ridersmallOr maybe he was just looking for bugs, but if so, one of them found him first.  This is sort of a twist on the classic song “Straighten Up And Fly Right,” by Nat King Cole and others, which begins “The buzzard took the monkey for a ride in the air/ The buzzard told him everything was on the square.”

In any case, our visitor soon tired of trying to breach the defenses and hopped off into the night.  It was just another little reminder that even here in tranquil, perhaps over-civilized suburbia, we’re not the only or even the original tenants.

Unfortunately, these guys may not be around forever.  Will we be?







Frog follies part 2

Tadpole in water on pool cover.

One of our guests (blurred to protect identity – of photographer)

Coming back from a beach vacation is never pleasant, especially when you start wondering and worrying about what might’ve befallen the house while you were away. My wife and I got home from one blissful, relaxing Florida trip to find our A/C had conked during a sweltering June. Another time, a pinhole-sized leak in a pipe drenched the basement. This summer, the place stayed cool and dry. We just had a bumper crop of tadpoles in the backyard pool.

Yep, those frogs are after us again! Not content with swimming in the pool and serenading us every night, the nervy little critters commandeered the place as their personal Plato’s Retreat and maternity ward. I tell you, friends, if I weren’t such a placid, unflappable, Zen type of guy, I’d be going off on frogs like Newman on dogs: “They have no place living among us! Vile, useless creatures…”

Backyard pool with cover.

The frog farm

Of course, they’re not really useless; among other things, frogs eat mosquitoes, which at the moment are upon us like a Sharknado. The tads weren’t born in the pool itself either, since we’d left it covered, but were in the rainwater that collected on top.

When we first got home, the water seemed ALIVE! with them, probably dozens, wiggling their little tails and darting frantically all over the place. It reminded me of certain, uh, male anatomical scenes from one of those old sex-ed movies we watched in school. (I know, I’m dating myself again. Did I mention the movie was in black and white and was made on something called “film?”)

The population shrank considerably in the next few days, probably becoming a weekend brunch for the birds. I would’ve let the survivors hang around until they grew up, but when I did a little research to refresh my high-school biology, I found it might take 3-4 months, and I figured by that time they’d probably croak.* So this morning, I scooped the remaining taddies into a bucket of water and dropped them into a creek where they might have a chance. Did any of them bother to thank me? Humph.

*One benefit of being older is the freedom to employ bad, overused puns without irony or explanation. Got a problem with that, pilgrim?

Bullfrog blues

Oh, the travails of being a bourgeois ‘burbanoid. I used to chase hot news around Washington; now I chase little frogs around the pool. poolfrog

We’ve always had a few of these critters, but this year, maybe due to some change in the climate or their habits, we’re getting more of them and much later in the summer than usual. And they’re not alone: just the other day I lifted the lid off the skimmer, which pulls in leaves, grass etc. from the surface, and out popped a snake. After my heart started beating again, we netted, released, and Googled it. We’re pretty sure it was a ribbon snake, especially since they like to snack on frogs and tads.

Confession time (don’t tell my wife): after taking the pic above with my phone, the artiste in me decided I should get a better shot.  And of course, as I tried to pose the lil’ bugger in the plastic container where I’d detained him, he boinged! right out and under my car. I couldn’t back out without flattening him, so I lay on my stomach on the garage floor and poked at him with a rake until he hopped out from under. After which I moved the car, chased him some more, and finally got him back in the container for a trip to a nearby creek.

Episodes like this remind me of a favorite song by the legendary Reverend Billy C. Wirtz, called “(Hey, You Little Bastards) Get Off My Lawn!” And who could forget the great Martin Mull and his routine about the legendary suburban blues singer, Blind Lemon Pledge?