Sunday, October 17, 2010

To Catch a Frog or Toad

I have a list of 100+ Things to do outside – a growing list of suggestions for family-friendly outdoor activities.

#77. Catch a Frog. I’m actually pretty good at this. I think it’s because of my years of handling voles. Voles are quick little field mice. I handled them throughout graduate school. I had to learn to handle them in a way that was firm – because they will squirm and wiggle and try to get away, but at the same time gentle – because I wanted them alive. After accidently killing a vole trying to handle it, I learned quickly how to catch, pick up, handle and move the little critters – both with gloves and without. I later found on a class field trip to Guyana, that this skill was transferrable to other small, fast critters.

So, I caught my very first frog. It was in the evening in the mountains near Kaiteur Falls. There are these teeny tiny frogs, about the size of a quarter, maybe smaller that have skin so thin you can see the organs in their bellies. Armed only with a head lamp and listening closely, I reached out onto the tall bushy grass and just grabbed at the distinctive metal like croak…and I caught one. In my hand, tiny and wet and fabulous was this little guy with a big voice, singing into the night – along with all of his brothers in search of a willing mate.

I was exhilarated. Since then, I’ve been a frog and toad catching queen. Grabbing and holding and posing away. Her e are some shots from this summer, the urban summer day camp with Boys & Girls Club kiddies.

 Gray tree frog
 Fowler's toad
 The little girls at the camp were initially resistant to touching frogs.  But after they saw me handle one, they were more curcious than afraid and couldn't help themselves.
The Best was when a little girl was simultaneously anxious but competitive, trying and trying to catch a frog squeeling the whole time. Some were so proud of overcoming their anxiety we had to coax them to leave the frogs and toads behind.

 Gray tree frog
Fowler's Toad

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