Monday, February 6, 2012
The Frog Test
This is the extent of my frog knowledge: frogs are cold-blooded. They slow down as it gets colder and then enter a hibernation that lasts the entire winter. Frogs need to hibernate to live a long life--well, for frogs that is. Sometimes, they'll pop up for some air if the ice melts off the top of the pond--especially if you have that odd rainy winter day. There is just something about raindrops that beckon them, I don't know why. Then they go back down for more slumbering until Spring comes.
Every so often, we get a froggy who is acting odd and I'm not sure if they are dead, dying, hibernating, or something in between. I don't like leaving dead frogs in the pond because, come spring, that is not such a nice thing to clean up. Dead frogs are mushy, stinky, and those mile-long tongues have a way of eeking out of their mouths. It is not fun to fish out of the pond, let me tell you.
The Frog Test: Testing to see if a frog is still alive entails the fish bucket (one that is only used for fish and frogs--no soaps, chemicals, or cleaners allowed....EVER), warm water mixed with cold pond water, and some time. Tossed into the warm water, a froggy will start to revive and become more active. This is a hibernating frog. Any frog that doesn't become more active is considered a dead or dying frog. That always makes me sad.
When in doubt, I always toss a frog back into the pond for a week or two--then I watch closely. Upside down is not a good sign. A hibernating frog will still move slightly and no frog would willingly be upside down. After some time, they get a bit stiff, their mouths open, and that tongue starts thinking about where it's going. I try to nab them out at that point.
So, it's sad to tell you that I lost my frog this week. It was a little guy--one of the taddies, no doubt. New frogs are more susceptible to die because they may not have had enough food stores for the winter. They can die of fungus too, and god knows what else. Either way, some make it, some do not. But each life lost is a blow to me--I don't take frog deaths lightly. It makes me sad and even the brightest day is dulled by a lost frog.
I sent Joe out Saturday to take care of the frog who we knew was dead in the pond. Em and I were out running errands when he did it, but he reported in later, saying that it really was dead. Then he added that he found some unfrozen soil next to the house in which to bury him.
And that is why I love that guy.