Seriously. It’s what I do.
When my husband mows the lawn I walk in front and herd any toads, frogs or snakes (so far none) out of the way of the deadly blades.
It’s not that my husband is a frog killer. As slow as he goes, he doesn’t always see them all and when he does he stops and moves it or calls me if I’m nearby. He isn’t superman though, and after finding one too many dead little creatures, I decided this was the best way to avoid that.
Sure, it takes a little longer to do, but we feel so much better after that. Frogs and toads are especially vulnerable to the environmental damage humans are doing and are rapidly declining in many areas, so this feels like the least I can do to help. Plus I get to marvel at and photograph all these little beauties.
First up is an absolute stunner of a wood frog –
It’s about as big as they get – 2 1/2 inches and the color is so amazing. None of the smaller ones would stay still as long as this one, but I saw enough of them to notice that they are more tan when they’re small. Not this gorgeous coppery, metallic shade.
These little green wonders are the most energetic when I have to sweep them out of the way – northern leopard frogs. They also have pronounced dorsal ridges like the wood frogs, and a wash of metallic sheen to them, too.
In addition to those guys, we have green frogs all over, too. This one is about 1 1/2 inches long. Typical of the size I see, but I did herd one that was about twice as big. No photos, but I got it to safety by the woodpile.
You can see that the dorsal ridges in green frogs are less pronounced, but still there. In bullfrogs they are entirely absent. Although I hear them by the strip of an island in the river, I haven’t seen them on our shoreline or the lawn. Bummer. Bullfrogs are so great. I used to watch them by a pond I used to visit in NH. They’re ruthless predators and I’ve seen them gobble up smaller frogs with no regard to species.
These bigger amphibs have the energy and stamina to make it from lawn to woods or garden under their own steam, but some of the littler ones need my help. Since frogs and toads have very sensitive skins and can absorb chemicals through them, I try not to pick them up or touch them very much. Lawn mower duty is a different deal though, and I scoop up tiny toads and spring peepers because they usually poop out before reaching safety.
This larger, and beautifully hued toad, I didn’t have to touch to get it away. I think it’s a female because of her pronounced bumpiness. The sprinkle of grass clippings is so cute.
No shots of the peepers from my efforts. Once I get them out of the path of the mower, they disappear into the leaf litter.
So for the future you’ll find me slowly and carefully stepping ahead of the mower, keeping safe the wildlife that dares to call our lawn home.