Monday, June 27, 2011

Oh Dear God

I was rushing around, trying to get to town this morning and I looked up at the window of the door which leads out onto my office deck and I saw something that chilled my very blood. A frog. Obviously a tree frog. But not one of our cute little native tree frogs. Oh hell fucking no. It was very similar in shape but its size was...well, as big as my palm whereas our little guys are about the size of the end of my thumb.
I freaked.
And then grabbed the camera and went outside and took his picture.
For those of you who are deathly afraid of frogs, forgive me but here it is:

For size perspective, here's another shot:

Yeah, yeah. I know. This is not the biggest frog or toad in the world but let's just try to imagine something that looked very like oh, say, a regular garter snake but instead of being two or three feet long, it WAS THE SIZE OF A PYTHON!
Or a wasp as big as your fist. Or an anole as big as an iguana. Or a squirrel the size of a Volkswagan.

You get my drift, right?
It was just WRONG! Wrong, wrong, motherfucking wrong.

Well I wasn't going to touch it and I was trying like hell to get to town and so I left it where it was and then did the most cruel thing I've probably ever done to my son and called him as I made my way to Tallahassee and described it and had him look it up on the internet. Now, as icky as I feel about frogs, Hank feels a million times more than that icky about them. So why did I set him to this task?
That's right. He is. And so I did it.
As he was looking up pictures and information I said, "I feel like I'm going to vomit. It was that bad."
He said, "I don't think you have to explain that to me."
He also said, "I will not be house-sitting for you during the rainy season. Oh no. You can kiss my ass. I will not be doing that."
Of course he said it in the most loving way possible and I completely understood and took no offense whatsoever.
He sent me the link to a scientist who studies the very invasive Cuban Tree Frog, which is what I thought it was and which Hank seemed to think it sounded like, at University of Florida. This man, Dr. Stephen Johnson, is an expert on the frogs and he has loads and loads of information up online. Go HERE for a start if you have any interest at all, although unless you live in Florida I am not sure why you would.

This is an extremely invasive frog and is eating all of our native tree frogs. Dr. Johnson wants people to report them. He also tells people how to humanely euthanize them. Hank was reading these suggestions to me and every one of them made us groan and retch. I suggested just doing the obvious and calling 911.

Help! I have a giant tree frog! Send reinforcements! Bring weapons! Big ones! Really, really BIG weapons! Bazookas! Hand grenades! You know! Flame throwers!

Anyway, after I talked to Hank, I called Mr. Moon and told him that when he got home he had to KILL THAT FROG!

I went on about my business, but I swear to you, it took at least an hour before my stomach settled down. I took care of my boy and I did some shopping for Mr. Moon's birthday and then I went to Gap and Old Navy where I bought some sweat-shop clothing for next-to-nothing and when I was in the Old Navy Mr. Moon called and said, "The Evil Frog is dead."
Oh. I do so love that man.
He dispatched it with a 22 rifle.

When I got home, I sent pictures and descriptions to Dr. Steve Johnson and I am so hoping he doesn't write me back and tell me that I made my husband shoot some endangered species. I really think, though, that it was the dreaded Cuban Tree Frog because Dr. J's website says that any tree frog over 2.5 inches probably surely is one and that frog was WELL OVER 2.5 inches and yes, I know I am yelling. You would be too.

Spiders, snakes, rabid foxes, mice, cockroaches the size of beer bottles- all of these I can take calmly and rationally but please. The Cuban Tree Frog may do me in. They have toxin on their bodies. They can trigger allergies and asthma. THEY DO NOT BELONG IN LLOYD!

Well, the trauma for now is over, although I feel quite certain that if there was one, there are probably about a million of them out there, just plotting on how to get into my house and clog up my toilets.
And it is raining like crazy which I should be grateful for but all I can think of is how much the Cuban Tree Frog probably loves rain.
And Mr. Moon is gone and the power has already gone out once today and it will probably go out again and here I'll be, in the complete black darkness, wearing my little dorky miner light on my forehead, searching anxiously for Cuban Tree Frogs in the toilets.

Well, that's the news from Lloyd. I know that all of you are even more eager than ever to include our picturesque little village on your next family-fun visit to Florida. Hey people- this IS Florida and what Disney World has to offer is fake, fake, fake and of course, safe, safe, safe. Unless you get stuck in It's A Small World which would be like hell for me. The burning fires of hell would be nothing compared to that. I know that someday we will be going to Disney World with Owen but I will NOT be on that damn ride. That's what mothers and fathers are for.

Grandmothers are for going to the Pirates of the Caribbean, riding on the teacups and buying children ridiculously large lollipops. Grandfathers are for...KILLING CUBAN TREE FROGS WITH A 22 RIFLE!

I'm pretty sure it says all of this in the Bible somewhere. And if it doesn't, it fucking well should.

Love to you all...Ms. Moon


  1. You crack me up. Especially with how much the Cuban Tree Frog must LOVE the rain. And Small World. Gag. Austin loves that damn thing and I just sit there rolling my eyes and shuddering.

  2. Back when I was in 8th grade this movie came out: Frogs

    It was an awful film but confirmed my fear of reptiles forever. Especially frogs.

    I do hope all is well in Lloyd and there will be no more sightings of the dreaded Cuban Tree Frog.

  3. Mary, are indulging in hysteria.....stop that at once!

    It was just a beautiful, adorable little (yes, little) green frog. Finally, we have found something we disagree about. (I happen to love frogs)

    I googled Cuban Tree Frog and the description I read did NOT say it was poisonous, just that it might cause irritation to some people.
    Also that they had been known occasionally to show up in is not like a plague or epidemic.

    Take deep breaths, try to may never see another one of the beasts again. For both of your sakes, I hope that is true.

    I still love ya'.

  4. OMG I feel your pain so acutey! We have a tiny little shack on a tiny little island in the Caribbean and when we lived there I so loved the tiny little tree frogs, which were never so crass as to actually APPEAR, but would charmingly call, "cok-EE, cok-EE," all night long.

    The last time I was there, observing the incredible development which has overtaken our tiny paradise, I spotted one of these little bastards on my porch REAIL, you know, where my HAND would go, at night after a rain. I nearly died! It was like seeing something from a bad sci-fi movie! It was said that they had been imported in landscaping materials for the palatial new villas being built and that they were decimating the dear little "cokee."

    Bastards. I hate them all.

    I think your little arrows of anxiety this morning were prescient.


  5. OMG.

    "Every day, we receive reports of Cuban Treefrogs found in ornamental plants -- some as far away as Canada!"

    The bastards are FOLLOWING ME.



  6. Steph- Oh god. What is it about that song?

    Ellen- I checked. That movie was filmed in Walton County, Florida, which is right down the road. See? ARRGGGH!

    Lo- No, honey, these frogs are serious invaders. They have eaten up all the native tree frogs in S. Florida. Florida is such a beneficent host to invaders. We have pythons in the Everglades and kudzu in the palmetto forests. But no, I'm not really freaking out. I've found snakes in my kitchen before- and lived to tell the tale. And I LOVE our little native tree frogs. This was just so alien. Any toad or frog that lives and belongs here is my friend- they eat bugs! But the Cuban Tree Frog- not my friend. If a biologist who obviously loves frogs says that we should euthanize them- I'm not saying no.

    Ms. Trouble- Yes! Too much nature!

  7. Invisigal- I feel your pain. Seriously. But don't worry- they may appear in Canada but they cannot breed and thrive there. As they CAN here in Lloyd.

  8. I'm completely with you. Ugh. Ew. Repulsive.

    And I don't want to know what happened to the frog when it was shot. Did it explode? Do you have bullet holes in your house, now? Did Mr. Moon actually capture it first?

  9. Elizabeth- I am not sure what happened to the frog except that Mr. Moon flung its body into the woods. And yes, there is small bullet hole in the door frame. And no, he did not capture it first. He just shot the fucker.
    This is like the Wild West. Of North Florida.

  10. I haven't laughed that hard in a long while.
    I got obsessed with invasive species a few years ago, there is plenty of fuel for that fire.
    Good luck with the monsters.

  11. Brother Wrecking Ball- Nothing could make me happier than knowing I have made you laugh.

  12. We have invasive toads here. Look at this.

    They are destroying our marshes and wetlands. They eat baby ducks and geese. I hate them too!

  13. Birdie- Oh my god. Stop it. I'll never be right again. But seriously- this is a big problem.

  14. omg I am dying laughing over here! Not at you but your writing just had me in stitches! I went out of town again and have caught your blog when I could and read about the little frog that y'all lovingly transported outside and the next thing you know I am reading about one shot to hell with a gun and a bullet hole left.
    I would have freaked out too.
    I just heard today that a neighbor across from us and behind us both killed copperheads in their yards yesterday.
    Michele r.

  15. Michele R- You gotta do what you gotta do. Natives get gentle escorts outside. Invasives get a bullet to the head. Life is cruel.

  16. Oh my god i love that Elizabeth asked all those questions! And you had all the answers, except for whether it exploded which I have to admit I was imagining when i read that mr moon shot the fucker.

    yay, mr. moon.

    and can i just say, i love hank.

  17. Angela- Well, it didn't explode so much that Mr. Moon couldn't throw it into the woods. And can I just say that I love Hank too? Yeah. I can say that. I'm his mama.

  18. I love frogs but I'm definitely not a fan of invasive species. I have to say, though, if I ever saw a cockroach the size of a beer bottle I think I might have a heart attack. Those fuckers seriously creep me out!

  19. Here in Alberta's Bow Valley we only have Bears and Cougars and Wolves and Coyotes that may sometimes be a concern, but only rarely. Those and Mosquitoes, which can be a pest.

    I am not at all envious of the Snakes, Insects and other creepy/crawly critters you who live in the sub-tropics have to contend with.

  20. I feel infinitely better about being scared of our tiny tree frogs. We have a million of them, and they freak me OUT. If I saw a large one, like you saw, I would possibly die.

  21. Well, I did a little looking and think that you may have had this fellow instead:

    The Cuban tree frog has toad like warts on the back. It has a bugged out eye which is hard to tell from the photo whether the one you had was bugged out or not.

    Anyway, the barking tree frog is not endangered although there may be one less member of the population now. I hope that the frog karma doesn't strike in Lloyd.

  22. Ashtree- We have some extremely large cockroaches. We try to pretty them up by calling them Palmetto Bugs but they are roaches.

    DTG- Firepower.

    Andrew- We all have our crosses to bear. We have bears and panthers, too, but not the huge ones. And coyotes, of course, but no wolves.

    Lora- Glad I could comfort you, dear.

    Syd- Nope. That frog only gets up to not-quite-three-inches from snout to vent. This one was much larger than that.

  23. At that size, it has to be the Cuban then for sure. Good going on dispatching an invasive.

  24. The Commies are coming, the C... Cubans are coming!?!? I like Frogs but that was no cute little tree frog. I understand your consternation. And am so glad Mr. Moon dispatched it. If you want to see something cute and native to FL., look up Peromyscus Polionotus (sp?). Not sure what their status is but probably endangered or worse. Due to encroachment and crowding out by non-indigenous species. Use to study biology at FSU and learned to hate those dog-gone invasive species. Hope you don't see another one around their.

  25. oh, mary.

    your 'labels' sidebar is getting so jam-packed it looks like an encyclopedia.


  26. I'm sorry. I SO DO NOT get this!
    Snakes do not bother you, lizards do not bother you--BUT FROGS??? WTFFF?

  27. SB: I am far worse about it than mama. It's a full blown, no reason for it, illogical phobia. I have jumped up on tables like a cartoon girl and hollered when a frog got near me. No idea why. Snakes, sure. Love 'em. Bugs don't bother me. Lizards, rats, spiders - it's all cool. But frogs make me shiver and sweat.

  28. Scott- They ARE cute. I wonder if we have them. If so, I probably try to kill them. Haha!

    Adrienne- Lord. I know.
    Obviously, I either do not know how to label or else I write about a great variety of things.

    Ms. Bastard-Beloved- See Hank's comment. Yes.

  29. I shouldn't laugh, I know, because you were scared, but it does crack me up that you can deal with snakes and giant spiders and whatnot and then a little frog freaks you out. I would sit on your porch and hyperventilate about the spiders/snakes instead. I suppose that would be because I live in a very wet climate and we see a lot of frogs.

    I'm glad you were rescued by your knight in shining armour. x

  30. Oh, and our frogs don't climb onto our doors or come inside much. Otherwise I would probably freak out too.

  31. You are funny! I'm not frightened of frogs but I've never dealt with snakes. We'd be alright together xx


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