The summer sizzle seems to have shown up early in Alabama this year. Our family pool is open, and they tell me the water is fine. Everyone, as well as everything it seems, except me, has jumped in. My family loves our pool, but so do all kinds of critters... especially frogs. Each summer, I feel like the pharaoh in Exodus must have when his land was overrun by frogs...or should that be over-hopped?
Frogs, in Alabama, come from two frog families: The Smiths and The Joneses. Okay, actually the two families are the true frog (Ranidae) family and the tree frog (Hylidae) family. Alabama has been tagged as “The second-froggiest state in the nation.” I’m not sure who is number one, but having lived in Louisiana that would be my guess. Like Baskin-Robbins, 31 flavors (of frogs) are found in our state. I believe all 31 species have been in my pool. Once they awaken from their long winters’ nap, they are ready to hit the water. I rarely see them lounging around by the pool, sunbathing and drinking lemonade during the day, but when the sun goes down, the frogs come out and jump in.
One of our regulars is a giant bullfrog, a true frog, whom I have nicknamed “Bully.” Bully is a Goliath, in the frog world. I should have named him Frogzilla. He showed up in our pool last summer and has returned this season. The first time I saw him, I thought he needed to be rescued. Every night, during frog season, multitudes of frogs perish in our waters. The tree frogs can climb out, because they have suction cups on their toes, but the true frogs jump in and then can’t get out. I have rescued many of them, before they end up dead in the skimmer or at the bottom of the pool. I catch them in a dip-net and transport them to the stream below the pool.
Last year, I managed to rescue Bully. I thought he would be much happier in the fresh running water of the stream. I guess I was wrong, because the next night there he was right back in the pool. He must have been onto me and my net this time around, because I couldn’t catch him. After trying ten or fifteen minutes, I gave up. I felt certain that Bully would be bellied up by morning, but much to my surprise, he was nowhere to be found. I am still not sure how he got out, unless he swam to the top step and jumped out from there.
I was surprised when Bully showed back up this summer. There is no doubt it is him. I’ve never seen another frog around that’s nearly as large as him. I have noticed when Bully takes to the water the other frogs seem to take a hike. I wonder if his size intimidates them. Maybe they are afraid he will eat them, so they don’t hop in. That’s one way to keep all those frogs out of the pool, but I think Bully may have met his match. A few nights ago, right after Jeopardy James won again, I put Molly in the pool. Molly is our Polaris pool vacuum that runs across the bottom of the pool, switching her long tail and sucking up trash and debris. I noticed that Bully never showed up that night. I’m thinking Molly may have scared him away. Perhaps, Bully thought Molly was a giant species of frog he had never seen and didn’t want to challenge. A bully usually always meets his match, eventually. Bully’s match was much larger than he, but sometimes, as in the case of David and Goliath, the match may even be smaller than the bully.
Bill King is an author, musician and native of Rainsville. Visit brobillybob.com for more information.