Not long ago I got a phone call from a man claiming to represent Frog Prevention. Now, you must know that I live in the Sacramento area where Peep Toads, as we call them, routinely show up on our lawns this time of year. They’re tiny little guys the size of jellybeans, but that’s where the resemblance ends:
My only objection to these little darlings is that we don’t have cute enough names for them. Apparently on Martha's Vineyard, they’re called "pinkletinks" and in New Brunswick, Canada, ‘tinkletoes." Nevertheless, I love them.
Larger frogs, which are probably toads since they’re not slimy looking, serenade us in the evenings from our geraniums and azalea bushes. They’re about the size of a large chocolate truffle. Notice everything can be compared to a candy.
The nearby town of Davis actually has a frog as its unofficial mascot, and folks have signs and various establishments promoting this idea:
It all started with a Toad Tunnel, created when an overpass was built over an interstate freeway. Animal lovers got Davis to allocate funds for a toad tunnel beneath the zooming cars, which these amphibians could use to travel to a pond now known as Toad Hollow. After much controversy, the tunnel—consisting of a narrow pipe-- was constructed and folks are still arguing over its cost ($12,000 to $30,000). Here’s the entrance:
There are now several such tunnels, and like all roads leading to Rome, they all lead to a wetland area fenced to keep out non-amphibians. Years ago The Daily Show heard about this and sent Stephen Colbert out to report on it. You can see that segment here. They put up a camera to see if toads actually used the tunnel. None did, but I blame that on poor signage.
And now there’s a children’s book called Toads of Davis and this is their Toad Hollow Dog Park:
I cannot vouch for how well toads and dogs mix.
Nevertheless, you can imagine my surprise when I got a phone call from Frog Prevention. Are there now so many frogs that we’re at Plague Risk? I asked the man this. And, very patiently, he enunciated the actual purpose of his call. “No,” he said, “Fraud Prevention.” Apparently some thief was using my VISA card. Well, that’s much worse than a frog problem. Why didn’t you say so?
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