Saturday, June 14, 2008

i saved a giant frog's life

on my bike ride home tonight, on a quiet street near the milwaukee art museum, i nearly ran over a ginormous bullfrog. bigger than any frog i've ever seen, anywhere. ever. including zoos, and canada.

the only frog i've ever seen that was this big was the one in my mom's rock garden 35 years ago and he was made out of some kind of ceramic material and had been painted by my sister-in-law at a magical place in burlington, wisconsin called "off the wall." painting ceramic frogs was big in the 1970's. housewives in burlington would get together on wednesday nights to talk about their husbands and new tupperware and the hottie-mc-hotterson high school senior who clips the lawn every other week, while they would paint all sorts of ceramic things: frogs, roosters, a grizzled old cowboy on a tired looking horse. my mom used to take me along. i loved wednesday nights.

but this frog tonight was not ceramic, he was real. i took a couple of pictures of him. he didn't seem to mind. unfortunately, as far as you know this is a tiny little frog, since there is nothing else in the photo to give perspective. you'll have to trust me. he's the size of a small dog.

there wasn't much traffic, only a car or two every now and then. but i was sure that i was about to see this creature come squirting out at me from under someone's tire.

i biked back down the street – maybe a block or two – frantically looking for a stick. i don't know why, but i didn't want to touch him. sure, i grew up touching frogs, but it's been a while. i eventually found a stick i determined to be long enough for the job, and biked back.

it was dark. i took the bike light off my handlebars, and held it in my mouth as i coaxed the big guy first to the side of the street, then over the curb, and finally up onto the grass, mumbling at him the whole way. "git!" i'd say. "that way, you!" a couple walking by looked at me kinda funny. "i'm saving this frog's life," i said with a bike light in my mouth. they kept walking.

i figure i did save his life, if only for a few minutes. that giant bullfrog, now he owes me big.


  1. interesting how you and my brother have this sense of wanting to save amphibians. see this post from my blog in June 2007.

  2. There's a great noise/expression that my grandfather used to make to get stray dogs off the porch. It went something like, "Yeeooowwwwgitooonouttheeyaahh!"

  3. Yesterday I was on the bike path near the art museum and I saw something in my way. It was a giant turtle! I've never seen a turtle this big anywhere in Wisconsin outside of a zoo. I stopped because I was afraid it was going to get run over. The bike path was bad enough, but it was heading towards Lake Drive.

    Here we hit upon a troubling point: how does one know what is in the mind of a turtle? Perhaps he had been heading this way for hours and just wanted to know what was on the other side of the road, consequences be damned. Or perhaps he was just soaking up the sun. A dog or a cat I might have an inkling, a turtle? Forget about it. So I decided to pick him up and set him on the grass headed the other way. No danger, how fast can a turtle move?

    The second I set him down his neck was stretching far out and with no small effort he was trying to snap my hand. I never thought I could find a turtle alarming, but there you have it.

    Please supply a moral.

  4. We found this ginormous crayfish (I thought it was a lobster at first it was so big!)in our gargage the other day. Do you think there's something in the water making these animals grow so big?? My husband scooped it up and put it back in our ditch where the rain water was.


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