Whenever there is rain in the forecast, I dutifully fold up the lounge chairs on our deck and cover them with the waterproof lounge chair covers we have purchased. This is to prevent the embarrassing situation that occurs when a deck chair looks dry but has managed to retain water like a menopausal woman so that when you sit on it (the chair, not the woman), you don’t feel immediately wet, but gradually begin to feel moist as if you are leaking.
But this post is not about deck chair dew. It’s about frogs.
You see, nearly every time I uncover the chairs after it rains, I also uncover a frog.
It will be a beautiful, fresh morning after an evening shower, and I’ll undercover a chair and unfold it and there, right on the seat, will be a frog. Always only one. And, I might add, in no particular hurry to get away. He’ll just sit there, a frog prince on his throne, as if he’s waiting for someone to bring him a drink with an umbrella in it.
So I’ll pick him up and carry him down the stairs from the deck to the stone patio, and down the stairs from the stone patio to the grass, and set him free to hop down to the stream behind our house, which is where I assume he lives when he’s not trying out our patio furniture.
I would like any animal lovers reading this to note, by the way, that I could simply toss the frogs off the deck toward the stream (or at the squirrels trying to get into our bird feeder*), but that instead I put in the time and effort to carry them down all those stairs. The last time I did this, the frog thanked me by urinating on my hand. (The photo here is of that actual frog sitting in my actual hand, right before he actually peed on it.)
I mention all the stairs to demonstrate that it is no small feat for these diminutive amphibians to get up to our deck in the first place, much less to then get up onto the seat of a folded up chair that is under a cover. Where are they coming from? Why always only one? What do they want?
For that matter, is it even a “they?” Or is it the same frog, repeatedly struggling up the stairs to sit in our chair? It’s not like I’d be able to tell one frog from another of the same species. They do seem to be getting progressively larger, but it could be just one frog getting bigger. (They grow up so fast!)
My wife posted the photo above on Facebook and my daughter’s college roommate Beth, who is an absolutely incredible wildlife artist (this is her cougar), tells us that it is a gray tree frog. This makes some sense, since, a) the frogs are gray, and b), it would mean their starting point is above the deck, so they don’t have to deal with all those stairs. It also means I may not be doing them any favors by carrying them all the way down to the grass, which might also explain why they get so, um, pissed off about it.
But the nearest tree to the deck would be an awfully big leap for such a little frog, especially the first ones we found that were really tiny. And what on our deck is so attractive to tree frogs that they are tempted to take such death-defying leaps? Could it be they’re after the poop pellets that squirrels keep leaving on the deck railing to discourage further squirrel-proofing of the bird feeder?*
But wait. Our photo-realistic friend Beth has more to say about our jumpy visitors: “If you hear high pitched trilling chirps in the morning and evening it could be a Cope’s gray tree frog, which are cooler.”
Well, I do sort of hear high-pitched trilling chirps out there, but I always assumed they were chipmunks, of which we have about five million. But maybe we’re infested with Cope’s gray tree frogs instead which, if they are for some reason cooler than regular gray tree frogs, surely must be cooler than chipmunks.
Judging from some photos I found online, I don’t think it is a Cope’s Tree Frog, because ours don’t look like they’ve swallowed any tennis balls recently. But I hope it is a Cope because, at our age, it’s nice to be associated with anything that’s cool, even if it’s a frog with bladder issues.
Ah, but the amazingly talented Beth isn’t finished yet. She has a question: “Does he have yellow or orange under the hind legs?”
Well, Beth, considering what happened the last time I held one upright, I’m certainly not going to turn one on his back to check his leg coloring.
See you soon.