Friday, March 27, 2009
My sister, a tenderhearted creature as regards the natural world, wants to know if there is a patron saint of frogs. She has a thing for frogs. One rarely has a conversation with her that does not include a rapturous description of the lusty bullfrogs on their pond. My sister’s rendition of the dulcet tones of mating frogs is almost as good as her loon call.
I am sad to report that neither frogs nor toads have a patron saint to call their own. (There is of course Saint Ulphia who silenced the frogs. See January 31.) My sister is distressed over the fate of the ‘disgusting and destructive” cane toads in Queensland, Australia. These venomous toads were imported from South America in a misguided effort to kill off the beetles harming the sugar cane. But it seems the toads, ugly as they are, cannot jump high enough to kill the beetles. Meanwhile they are killing everything else, including small reptiles, mammals and birds. So this Sunday will be TOAD DAY OUT. (In Australia. Unless you are already there you are unlikely to arrive in time to gather many cane toads.) Contestants are encouraged to bring in as many live toads as possible. Then they will be humanely killed. (Don’t ask.) The organizers recommend wearing gloves when you pick up the toads because they have a tendency to urinate.