When I was a child, frogs and toads were plentiful. It wasn’t uncommon to see 25 or 30 toads hopping around on the patio eating bugs drawn by the outside light. I found it great fun to count frogs. It was normal to see a hundred in the lit area immediately surrounding our house. Daylight would expose quite a few flattened corpses on the roads. Toads were everywhere!
Living near a pond, on warm summer nights we would be serenaded by a chorus of deep “joogarum” songs from frogs. They would start their songs just before dusk and continue throughout the night. We also had a small goldfish pond in our yard, and usually a few large frogs took up residence there. By large I mean frogs that when stretched out were 8-12 inches long and to big for one small hand to hold.
In the spring masses (frog) and ropes (toad) of eggs could be seen in the goldfish pond and around the edges of the pond. I enjoyed watching those blobs of eggs grow – eventually turning into tadpoles, which eventually grew legs and turned into frogs or toads.
The pond is still here as is the goldfish pond, but where are the frogs and toads? There are still a few, but nowhere close to the numbers there were. The numerous ‘joogarum” songs have dwindled to only a few, and some nights are silent. In the spring we still see baby frogs and toads around wateredge, but not nearly as many. Where once the ground almost appeared to be moving with the little hoppers it no longer does.
Pollution, ozone, parasites, pesticides, all of the above? J.M. Kieseker has published some interesting research results information and while a lot of it is above my head I follow enough of it to understand there is a serious problem here, not just for frogs and toads but all living things.
Frogs and toads do a lot of their breathing through their skin although they do have lungs. One thing for sure, they haven’t been kissed and turned into princes or princesses. When a species is in trouble and there is no definite explanation as to why humans had best be wondering what may be happening to other lifeforms as well as themselves. Think about it.