Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Bullfrog and the Road

Driving home tonight, headlights shine upon a small hopping form in the middle of my lane. A controlled swerve to the left, but I'm not sure if I missed the frog.

A part of me wants to get home. It wants to pretend the frog hopped, hoppily after to wherever he was going. It does not want to think about the possible smooshing of said frog beneath wheels.

I don't know how big that part of me was, but it ended up being trumped by the part of me that needed to know if I had just killed a ginormous frog.

So I turned around and drove back to the scene.

Several other cars pass on the same road, so it is a distinct possibility they killed him. I saw another bullfrog, further down the road, had met with a nasty (but hopefully quick) fate.

My headlights flash on a huddled form in the middle of the road. It's the bullfrog! I see headlights approach from the other side and say a little bullfrog prayer that this car misses him as well (it would have been at least the 10th car).

Turning around once again, I park alongside the road, emergency lights flashing. There is ample room. Another car passes, I hold my breath.

Then, nothing. No lights, no sounds of approaching vehicles. I grab my flashlight and head towards the little mass.

And there he is, confused but alive. He wisely chose to station himself on the yellow, middle divider in the road, avoiding death at least 15 times.

Now I love animals. With the exception of ticks, there are almost no other animals I don't find appreciation or adoration for. Dear readers, this bullfrog was big! I was a little scared of him. He was bigger than one of my hands, and while rationally I knew touching him wouldn't kill me, I kept imagining touching him, reacting to some rare poison, and dying in the middle of the road with a frog cupped in my hands. How embarrassing.

I got over this fear, probably because I was standing in the dark, in the middle of the road. Also, the frog was pretty adorable, and clearly petrified. When I finally got up the nerve to touch him, he let out a little squeak! Apparently it's an alarm call bullfrogs make when they're surprised or disturbed. I didn't blame him.

I tried to pick him up, but then he hopped! So I poked, he hopped, I poked, he hopped. Finally, the stress of it all got to him and he just stopped. I told him he was not quite there yet, but he did not care. So he let me pick him up without much fanfare, and I took him back to his pond. A lady at the school where the pond is located gave me a weird look and hopefully no cops show up at my door wondering about my late-night escapades near the school. Officer, it was the frog, I swear!

Now there's a chance this bullfrog will hop back out of the pond and end up in the road and die. But it won't be because no one cared. If he survives the night free of unsightly interactions with 2,000 lb vehicles, it will be because someone not only cared but acted. 

So when you care about someone, act, but don't be creepy! Caring is nice....but acting is what saves the bullfrog! Or whomever, if you're not in to bullfrogs, even though they're super adorbs, squeak when they're scared, sound like a jug band when they're wooing, and are squishy in a sweet way (not a frog-meets-car way).

(Bullfrogs are not native to California. Some douche-canoe back in the day thought our native frogs were too "meager" and small to, you know, kill and eat. So they have been imported and our poor native frogs are all OH MY GOSH YOU ARE SO BIG RUUUUNNN!!! You can't blame the native frogs, bullfrogs ARE big. I would know, because I held one! It's not their fault, and I'm not going to pin the blame of non-native bullfrogs on the poor little kermit in the road.)

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