August 13th, 2005

battyden

One Froggy Afternoon

I wandered into the grocery shop carrying a plastic container and a latex glove. The bloke behind the counter gave me a funny look, but nodded in understanding when I said I was from WIRES and had come to rescue the frog. I've rescued green tree frogs before, mostly from inside people's toilets, and simply let them go  outside. This one was different. It had travelled from Tully in North Queensland, hitching a ride in a bunch of bananas. Letting it go into the bush here was out of the question. The frog wasn't native to this area and wouldn't survive the cold. 

Technically it should go back to where it came from, but it's a frog. I'm all for native amphibians and think there should be more of them. But... frog. It would have to go into permanant care.


THe store owner handed me a styrofoam box large enough for 2 dozen oranges, and opened the lid. All I could see were the scattered remains of some celery tops. "It's escaped" I said.

He glanced in and said "No, there it is." I looked at the celery tops for a moment, then the owner reached into the box and pointed. There, almost entirely covered by the end of his finger, was a green tree frog. A tiny, tiny little thing, all crouched and flattened against a leaf. I put on my latex glove*, had the grocer spritz it with water, and picked up the frog. I placed it in my container. It looked forlorn, a little green spot in the middle of a plastic container. The grocer tore a lettuce leaf in half and dropped it in. A few moments later a webbed hand appeared around the edge of the leaf, and the frog climbed on top. I closed the lid.

One of my fellow rescuers specializes in amphibians, so it was off to Liz's place for little froggy. On the way there he must have felt safe because he let out a noisy call. Unfortunately a constable was leaning in the window giving me a breath test at the time.

"What was that?" he asked. I explained about the frog and he wanted to see it. I opened the lid of the container, the constable leaned closer, and the frog made a perfect 4-point landing on the left lens of the officer's sunglasses. I removed the sunnies and carefully shook the frog back onto the lettuce leaf. The officer was laughing as he waved me off.

Now little froggy is ensconsed in a clean terrarium, with a water dish, some ferns and a life-times supply of tiny crickets and baby meal worms. He seems to be unharmed by his long journey and run-in with the law.

Photos to come.



*Acids in our skin can harm frogs.