Can frogs read eviction notices?

3-24-2010

A little over a month ago, the familiar nightly chorus of breeding Pacific tree frogs started up again as it always does. Over the years, the "singing" has gotten so loud it borders on deafening. This year it started up with a few then grew, but suddenly the nightly sounds of "romance" stopped. I thought it was very odd and figured maybe our heavy rainfall had sent the little frogs back in their hidey-holes until a later date.

About the same time I stopped hearing the tree frogs, I realized that every time I approached one side of the pond I would see a quick movement and hear a splash as something jumped from under the pond-side plants into the water. For weeks, I only caught little glimpses. I've had a pond-swimming mouse that regularly swam across the pond to get from one side to the other years ago, so I couldn't be sure what it really was... until two days ago. I was finally able to sneak up on the critter and get close enough to see that it was an amphibian larger than the tree frogs. But I still couldn't tell if it was a toad or a frog and definitely couldn't identify the species.

Today, I ventured out and found TWO frogs sitting around basking in the spring sun. I got my camera and snapped some shots so I could compare them with online photos to get a positive I.D.

Unfortunately, my worst fears were realized... they are bullfrogs. Bullfrogs eat other frogs so that would explain the absence of the nightly chorus. Bullfrogs also eat fish, birds, reptiles, invertebrates, mammals... basically anything that will fit in its mouth (including other bullfrogs). They're lazy hunters that sit and wait for their prey to come near them, then lunge after the prey. And according to one source bullfrogs are unpalatable to many predators. Great.

So the first thing I did was search the internet to get some idea of what I could humanely do to give these two an eviction notice before all my fish, lizards and everything else in my backyard wildlife habitat goes missing as the tree frogs have.

I googled "what eats bullfrogs". The following answers made me hopeful:
  • Birds: herons, egrets, kingfishers, ducks
  • Mammals: Racoons, opossums, bobcats, coyotes
  • Reptiles: garter snakes
We've got herons... we've got egrets... we've got raccoons... we've got opossums... and we've probably got a snake somewhere around the garden because I've seen one of those before.

Another internet source says that bullfrogs "like warm, quiet areas with dense plants". Okay.

So guess what I did for the entire day... I removed all the weeds from around the pond and made lots of noise while doing it!

Unfortunately, although the frogs seemed startled by my presence at first, they chilled out after a while. One let me go so far as push on its rump with the pond net for about 10 seconds as I said, "Go away. You aren't welcome here." It finally got tired of me bumping its rump and jumped back into the pond. Sigh.

Well, it looks like I'm going to have to put all my faith in the egrets, raccoons or opossums. And I'm hoping my naturalized pond goldfish love frog eggs.
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7 comments:

  1. Oh dear! And I so loved the little froggy noises when we were there...we don't really have much of that here, just crickets. But it reminded me of Argentina, where they are abundant and vociferous!

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  2. If these lazy frogs aren't fast movers I get myself a net and catch them, but them into a box (and whack it with a mallet. No wait, that's what Ezma would do, not me!) and take them far away to a new water area... maybe the marina where there are LOTS of natural predators!

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  3. Uh, oh!
    That isn't good! Maybe you should try dressing up like a native and go spear hunting for the bullfrogs and when you get them, make a victory fire and cook 'em! MUAHAHAHAHA! Never mind. You don't want to KILL them. Just take the top off of your flippy-uppy trash can lid and find a net big enough for the trash can lid to go on. Then keep the lid open until you get a bullfrog in the net, and then BOOM! shut the lid down on them! (Now, what to do with the bodies?....) Take the frogs (in the net) and transfer them into a jar with a little bit of water in it and maybe a couple of leaves, and take them to the pet store and say "here, I found these in my backyard, take them for free, sell them to a monsterous little, I mean, wonderful little child, MUAHAHAHAHA!" (I had to add the maniacle laugh in there somewhere :))

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  4. I hope something works for you though I think bull frogs are pretty neat too. Maybe they didn't eat the little frogs and those guys just moved on somewhere safer. One can hope right.

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  5. Hi Cindy,
    Just stumbled upon your blog while googling Eden Climbing roses and one blog led me to yours! So glad I did because I loved reading your stories and the beautiful eye candy as well. Looks like we both have a couple things in common... We're both from California. I grew up In Morgan Hill, 15 miles south of San Jose. Also, we both love gardening and tending to all our lovely friends. Anyway, if you ever get the chance, pop on in to visit me.
    I'm at: thespanishdahlia.typepad.com.

    Have a nice day,

    ~ Stephanie

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  6. Living out amongst a lot of nature sounds divine until one considers all the noise. I was watching House Hunters today and one of the homes they were considering backed onto a pond invested with Canadian geese. "Don't walk, run!" I cried into the remote but it was to no avail. Your photos are perfectly lovely, as always.

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  7. Forget the eviction notice, get the Froggy Sheriff. Run them out of town, they look like they are getting fat.

    Jen

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