Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Three Frog Night

Apart from the snakes & birds & fruit bats & lizards & geckos & the beautiful grey possums we often hear throatily threatening but usually only see when it's time to show the young the tricks of tree-climbing, we also have frogs in the garden.

There are two varieties; a little brown & black one that bops off rapidly when we come on the scene & which I often have to rescue from the pool—I don't know if it's the expanse of water or the chlorine in it that causes them to get stranded—& a green one which we've seen in sizes ranging from fingernail to fist.

It's called a green tree frog, though I've never seen one in a tree—perhaps because of all those snakes & birds & fruit bats......—& you tend not to see them during the day but will occasionally hear their croak emanating from downpipes or drains or the space above the garage door when rain is in the offing. But they come out at night, drawn to lighted windows, which they'll sit nearby or even on, patiently waiting for the insects that are attracted to the light.


We have one that lives in the water reservoir at the base of one of our planter plots. As afternoon wears on, you'll first see its small head peering out of the opening, then the upper half of its body appears & finally, if it's sure there's nothing threatening about, it will come completely out & sit on the plastic stand the pot is on.

There's another, larger, one that takes up a position on the ramp that leads out of the laundry. The arc of the opening door misses it by about a centimetre. It doesn't move when the door opens, but I've noted a couple of times that it's shifted another millimetre or two when I come back in. I'm unsure where this one lives.

& there's a third, in between the size of the other two. We discovered its home the other day when, in the middle of a rainstorm, I cleared the drain by the side of the house & the released rush of water pushed it out from where the drain went under the driveway.

They're all very placid creatures. You can stroke them—preferably with a wetted finger—& even pick them up. They're unperturbed by a human presence, though the one on the outside table the other night re-angled its body to avoid the cigarette smoke. But they're also very agile; they can climb quickly, or spreadeagle their body across the screens on the window in quite bizarre positions.

Most of the time, it's as if there's a job-sharing arrangement going on as guardian of the house. There's usually only one about, sometimes two, & then one at the front of the house, one at the back. I'm never really sure which is which. But last night was a three frog night. One sitting on the garbage bin, one on the ramp, & the third on the back of the outside couch. All of them still, insect intent. I envy their ability to remain so focused.

1 Comments:

Blogger Louise said...

when i was living in the bush in the foothills of farnborough (about 10/12 years ago) we had a community numbering sixty or more of three or four different frog species all living (clustered nestlike) in our back verandah which was besser block and concrete. they would eat very large moths and other insects during the night, much to the delight of our then primary school age kids...we lived at farnborough for 14 years - but in that one year we saw more frogs then ever before. the drought was beginning in earnest and conditions were not suitable for frogs after that. i do hope with the recent wet weather that the frogs can return. even though we live in town now, i don't think the frogs (or native bees for that matter) will ever recover in numbers the like of those - but i hope that they can.

8:29 AM  

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