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Feeding the Frog

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

I like my pond. Bill and I dug it in 1993, dropped some old carpet and a vinyl pond liner in the hole, filled it with the hose, put some fish and plants in it, and it's been going strong ever since. The original four shubunkin goldfish lived and reproduced for a couple decades, making babies that were all black, that you could hardly see in the dark water, until they all up and croaked of some disease. Well OK. That was that. I'd never wanted 70 fish in my pond, anyway.  I cleaned it out, waited awhile, and put some Comets in, and they've been hardy and friendly and most of all colorful! They have bred well but not explosively. I appreciate that.

  Twice a year, the pond's a huge pain in the butt to clean. However I have figured out how to do it without killing myself, as I was doing in this 2012 photo. I note with some satisfaction that I still don the same lime-green Columbia nylon shorts to clean it in 2019. Frugal to a fault. However now, instead of painstakingly siphoning muck off the bottom, stopping every 30 seconds to clear the clogs from the tubing, I do it ever so much more quickly and easily. I just get a square-sided Tupperware and scoop the sludge off the bottom, dump it in a bucket, and I'm done! Fabulous. Fast. Works better than siphoning. Plus, I can fertilize my roses and peonies with the sludge. BONUS.

Really, the pond is just an excuse to plant lots of flowers, drifts of color that ring it all summer long.  


Sometimes it's crape myrtle, sage and coreopsis; sometimes it's buddleia, Rudbeckia and zinnias.

One of my other favorite things about having a water garden is the frogs it attracts. There have been several summers when it was overrun with bullfrogs, and they can be a problem, especially if you're a chipping sparrow, warbler or hummingbird. But usually what I get is medium-sized green frogs who quietly take up residence, plop into the water with a little Yikes! when they see a human, then decide we are no threat after all and sit quietly and let us admire their beautiful gold-flecked eyes; their sweet froggy anatomy; their green lips.  

I had one live here for 18 years. I called him Raoul. Maybe he was a she. I'm not sure. But there's a post from 2013 about him here. 

This 2019 model was one such frog. Tame as all get out. I could lift the filter out, right next to it, and it wouldn't bat an eye.

Maybe it's because I fed it a couple of times.

I love this video. Frogs don't really seem to be looking at anything, until zoop! they nab it. And they don't seem to notice anything, except that they notice everything. Don't be fooled by their impassive golden eyes. They're watching your every move. And if you toss a worm to them, they know it was you who did it, and they hope you'll do it again. Same goes for lizards. Lizards NOTICE.

I posted this video on Facebook, and one of my friends who does wildlife rehab left a comment warning me that Superworms (the giant mealworm offered in the video) are dangerous to frogs! Well, who knew that? She said they can chew their way out of the frog's stomach! OMG! Huh? That sounded weird to me, so I asked The Google about that. Like many things I learn on the Intertubes, whether that's true or not depends to whom you're talking. I found some herp keepers' forums that emphatically pooh-poohed such claims. The story apparently originated with Petsmart, whose employees claim this to be true, and who warn people not to feed Superworms to amphibians or reptiles. Oh.

Superworms, for those who don't know, are normal mealworms (Tenebrio molitor) that have been given hormones that keep them from going through their normal instars. Basically they are arrested in development, staying in the larval stage, and they just get bigger and bigger instead of pupating and turning into beetles.  These Superworms I have now date from summer 2018. I'm curious to see how long they will live! They're handy to have on hand if you have a bird that needs a big meal.

Me, I trust a frog to know what it can handle and what it can't. This frog didn't have the slightest hesitation glupping up my superworms. (It only ate two). Having had a frog (Big Fergus) who ate BIRDS, with their pointy beaks and sharp claws, I had my doubts as to whether a large mealworm could kill its captor by chewing through its stomach before the mealworm died. Mealworms, super or not, give up pretty easily when you get them wet, not to mention, I'd think, when they drown in stomach acid. 


I didn't see our sweet green frog again after it ate those mealworms. As the days went by, I began to wonder...had I killed our frog with kindness?

Evil cackle. Another cliffhanger. You know how I love 'em. I'll be back. 
Heads up. Next installment is graphic. Not gross, in my opinion; more cool, but graphic. 
Hang on for that ride.


FROG-BURROWING SUPER WORMS? Hey. It sure sounds unlikely, but on the other hand I'd never underestimate the damage you can do with hormones. I mean, even if they're just inside the frog being all bitchy I'd think it was a problem.

Funny. Murrster!

I should have known...ok. I'll wait. BUT NOT TOO LONG, please. Pretty please.

Dubious about PetSmart claim. I fed superworms to a blue tongued skink for years and she never had a problem with them. But then she also was very religious in her chewing. Also, I had one superworm metamorphose into a beetle that then went on to live as a beetle for several years. It would emerge from its hidey-hole each night, climb to the highest point in the tank and then do a headstand until lights-out. No idea what it did after the lights went out. I came to love that beetle almost as much as the skink.

It's amazing how many comments I treasure are from Bruce Mohn.

That pose in the first photo made me picture some painting from my college art history class back in 1977...a Monet? I may be way off...the class was right after lunch in a darkened room with only the light and click of the projector to accompany the monotone voice if the Prof who seemed old enough to have dated Monet...and this was before I discovered caffeine.
I love this post ...being amphibious myself, how could I not.
Plus I learned what Super Worms are.
I have a super confident frog in my pond that is just ripe for work feeding.
Off to PetSmart!

We have observed a gorgeous green frog who lacks yellow pigment in our pond at Audubon. It is a sparkling metallic blue!

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