We’re nearly at the end of July and for a month I’ve been out launching frogs with a pool net almost every night.
But that’s not where this story starts.
Man is an apex predator. With technology, the apex-est predator there is. We not only can kill an animal, we can wipe out a whole species and salt the land making sure that nothing even remotely like you can flourish in the future.
And man needs his sleep.
I live in a noisy house. I have a toddler with endless energy, a noisy six-month-old baby, and a “loud sleeping” wife. My house isn’t large and mostly tiled so sound waves just bounce around until they hit my ears. It’s never quiet.
In May, the red spotted toad (above) started to crawl out of its hiding places and curse Tucson with its screams. Frogs ribbit, right? WRONG. This frog screams. All night long.
Now this is the first year that the pool chemicals have been “excellent” (because I’m no longer in charge of them), so I know it isn’t too far off either end of the pH scale. Maybe the frogs can sense this and it doesn’t burn their skin.
These frogs are loud. The pool is about twenty feet from my bed and I’m only separated by a single window/wall. Within twenty feet, I have at least three of these awful animals singing to me.
Alone they will scream for 40-50 seconds, stop for about ten, then start screaming again. When there are others, you’ll hear different pitches in their voices and like the Benedictine Monks, it never ends.
That is until July. In July I declared war on these awful creatures.
They start up around 9PM but really get going around 11PM and will go until 4AM if you let them. I can hear many others in the dry river behind our house. It’s only wet after it rains, and only for a few hours or a day at most.
They’ll climb the wall and hang out by the pool. If they were quiet then they could have all the fun they wanted. But they aren’t. And I want those kids off my lawn.
I have a pool leaf net that is about eight feet long. I can easily reach the other side of the pool from a single spot. I finally went out there one night and caught them one by one and gently dropped them on the other side of the fence.
But they were back in less than a half hour. It was my fault. I was nice.
I slowly tossed them a bit farther every time hoping that they wouldn’t find their way back. After about four days, seeing the same few frogs and new ones all the time, I stopped being nice.
I’ve started launching them as far as I can as if I’m using a lacrosse stick. My strategy is to scare them into the water where they’re easier to catch in the netting. Then I slowly lift them to not scare them and whip it as hard as I can into the dry riverbed.
I’ll normally go out there around 11PM, midnight, and maybe 1AM. Usually by then they won’t try to come back until the next day.
By now I have launched at least 100 and only been (temporarily) outsmarted once. One frog thought it’d be smart to climb up into the rocks beside the pool. He was right, but I came out about 30 minutes later and taught him how to fly.
I work with my next door neighbor and he’s thanked me for my efforts. These frogs are a menace.
I can’t do anything about the sounds happening within my house, but at least I can show a bunch of two-ounce desert frogs to fear a pool-net-wielding man in underwear.