So today after dropping the kids off at school I had to run a couple of errands, nothing too unusual there - but what took me by surprise was the presence of this little dude.
This is a Green Tree Frog, they are native to Australia and honestly one of my all-time favourite animals (they are just too cute). Now for those of you not used to these little green munchkins should know, that it is highly unusual to see one just sitting out in the open, they tend to prefer darker, cooler, moister places than sitting on a metal pole out in the open on a scorcher of a day.
At first, I just took a picture and went inside the chemist to grab my Ventolin - whilst inside I sent @ausbitbank a message with a pic of Froggo as I now affectionately refer to him, he messaged back and seemed to be as shocked as I was to the location of our little buddy and that was all I needed to hear.
I mentioned to the ladies in the chemist that there was a Green Tree Fron out on the railing and again they were happy to hear it but confused as to why he picked this location, I asked them if they knew of any location close by that would be a more suitable place for the little guy - given that he was essentially in a carpark with only a small hedge at one end, the other end had a massive construction site being worked on and the remaining side was the beginning of an industrial estate.
This was no place for my new friend, honestly, I was surprised (and relieved) when I returned outside that he was still there sleeping away in full view and no camouflage to keep him safe - I figured a Kookaburra or Magpie would have got him already with how much he stood out.
It was decided I am going to rescue this frog, then I realised I had nothing to put a frog in - so I went back into the chemist and asked the lovely ladies for a bag to put him in and relocate him, they were thrilled I was moving him and happy to help by giving me the largest paper bag they had.
I went back outside and got ready keys in my mouth, paper bag underarm and then I doused my hands with water, unfortunately, I only had tap water but as this was life or death for this little dude so I figured it better to just be as quick as possible with as limited physical contact as possible and get him in the bag.
There was no way he would make it the day where he was, even if the birds left him alone the ants wouldn't have been so kind - not to mention just plain old baking in the sun, this really was the only option I could think of and hoped that my hands did little to no damage compared to his current fate.
So I approach Froggo nervous he is going to jump away and be lost in industrial estate hell at any moment, but again surprisingly he didn't move an inch (again making me think he is probably already dehydrated and not doing so well). I take a deep breath and just go for it and sure enough, I get him in my hand gently but he is rather shocked and startled awake by his freedom being ripped quickly away in his sleep.
I quickly and gently put him inside the bag and this is where I realise my first mistake, paper bag, and wet hands are not ideal counterparts - the bag had a slight wax coating that I think saved the day in the end but it got a little sketchy trying to close the bag not squish him and ensure he was well supported.
I quickly move to get him and myself into my car and find somewhere safe to put him, now this was mistake number two - when I started my car I forgot that I had been listening to Disturbed Down with the Sickness at a rather considerable volume, poor little Froggo shat a brick when the music started automatically when I started the car.
I rushed to grab the bag as it launched vertically in the car, once somewhat secure I turn the music off and try to calm the poor little guy down - he was completely terrified by this stage and I felt like shit but also knew being a little scared was way better than being slowly tortured and ripped apart by a Kookaburra so I pushed on.
Now we come to yet another mistake, I had no idea where to take this little guy and resumed my panicked messages with @ausbitbank - I had no idea where to relocate this little dude so of course, I ask @ausbitbank to start looking up rivers near me, that's when he points out he doesn't really know where I am.... yeah that's where my brain was at.
So I know the area relatively well so I figured I'd drive home and find something suitable on the way, well the further I went the more I realised this was harder than it originally seemed. Australia is hot and goes through long periods of drought, often small rivers and streams will dry up for many seasons on end this is when I knew it was going to be a lot harder to find somewhere safe to put Froggo where he could go on living a happy life and maybe meet a little lady frog and settle down.
Ok now I should probably mention I do love Frogs and pretty much most animals and I have been known to even catch a massive carpet python because he was being bullied by birds (he was relocated by a snake catcher) plus just safer to relocate a massive snake when there are little kids and small pets on the property, but the main reason I was going so above and beyond for this little guy, is that it has been around 8-10 years since either myself or @ausbitbank have seen one.
We've had a lot of droughts in the past decade, more like one long continual one (hence the bushfires going off last year). But when I was a kid growing up on the Sunshine Coast hinterland, I used to see these little beauties almost daily some times big groups of them out on our balcony there to eat the bugs attracted to our lights off our flyscreens while we eat dinner, hell we even had a little pond in our greenhouse for their tadpoles.
Literally, the last Green Tree frog we found was in need of rescue again. Only this time it was weird for other reasons... it appeared in our toilet!
That's right I went to go pee and boom there sitting in the bowl was a beautiful Green Tree frog, now again this is not water a frog should be sitting in, it's full of chlorine and other chemicals that can penetrate the frogs super sensitive membranes and poison it.
So I put @ausbitbank to work again and he gloved up and retrieved our original little green friend and released it outside, this was during the wet season during the massive floods we had in 2011, so generally much safer for it to just be let out in the back yard to find itself a new place to call home and actually have a chance of survival.
So back to Froggo, I knew he needed to be somewhere safer than the current shitty living he had ended up in when I found him. I knew no one else would probably do it so I drove around and kept trying to find somewhere I knew with a water system that didn't dry up often. I even called my sister to ask if she thought the RSPCA would help, she thought they probably wouldn't care about a frog so I was on my own.
Now that's when I started driving past a gold course, I pass it regularly enough but this popped into my mind - those fuckers artificially top up the lakes, because people pay for the ambiance as well as the fancy manicured grass with little holes in it this could actually be the safest bloody place for my little mate.
So I did what any rational person would do, I broke/trespassed into the golf course to set Froggo free in its pristine lakes. Now to be fair by break-in I mean step over their tiny little honour system fence and I also stayed as close to the road as I could, rather than walk right into their big lakes I stuck to the little one on the side and figured Froggo could relocate himself to the better lakes in the coming days/nights.
Now I will say I was being angrily stared at by one of those fancy guys with a membership to the golf course, but it's not like I was carrying a club and balls or anything so I just ignored him and sure enough, he moved on eventually (mind you I may have just looked like a crazy-ass bitch, walking around with a bag and taking photos/talking to it... from his perspective that is).
Now we arrive at the photo portion of the story, in this moment I am crouched in a steep gully trying to open a bag and release Froggo - however, he is not so down with this plan. He either thinks I was saving him for a snack or he had grown accustomed to his white bag existence but either way he was not coming out without a fight, I gently took the closed end of the bag and tiled it so he could ease out onto the grass, this is when I remembered frogs have sticky feet in that they can cling to shit super well and he was just refusing to come out of that bag, not that way at least.. so instead he started to jump and then continued to jump into the closed end of the bag for a few moments, this is when I started to wonder if Green Tree frogs were like the Koalas of the amphibian world (plain stupid)?.
Unfortunately being the saviour and photographer isn't conducive to the most consistent photographic storytelling, so let me fill things in here with words. Froggo continued to flip his shit a bit here, so I decided to give the poor fella a break (it had been a pretty full-on day for the little guy already) so I tore open the bag so he could at least see the outside world again. Well, he took this new found freedom with gusto and proceeded to jump hard, but the edge of the bag was still a little over the top of him so he figured he could attach to the bottom side of the top layer of the bag, of course, this did not end well for our little buddy - he proceeded to stick to the top of the bag whilst his body was now upside down and then the whole thing collapsed on top of him.
After a moment I manage to get him right side up and then on top of the bag, things were finally starting to look up for this little dude and then nothing, as in he didn't do a fucking thing Froggo just sat there and refused to move. I started trying to make noise and wave my arms around but I think by now he was either too exhausted by everything to keep fighting or he was just ready to accept his fate whatever that may be.
So obviously I wasn't going to leave the paper there, but he was not budging so again I try to encourage him to gently move on. This took some time but eventually, he got the idea and made the small move onto the grass.
Where again he decided it was time for sleepies and he was just going to chill there for the day, honestly this wasn't too much better than when I found him so I was determined he was not just going to get picked off by a Mapie or Kookaburra. I again try my arm flailing and noise making to see if I can encourage any movement towards cover and water...
Finally, he turns and looks towards his new home, so I continue my stupid flailing honestly it's no wonder that guy was staring at me in hindsight I must have looked like I walked over to have a seizure. But he makes a move...
And then I lose him I mean when I was there I knew where he was but for the longest time, I stared at this photo and thought I was a crazy bitch taking pics of nothing (in fact there is another image I didn't include because I honestly can't find him in it still).
Can you find the frog in the image above?
But he finally moved off into the reeds which as you can see by the colour of the dirt is far cooler and moister than where he was originally hanging out, a much safer place for the little guy not only does he now have access to water and bugs, but he isn't out in the open where any number of predators could find and eat him.
This is where Froggo and I parted ways, he is now on his own, I at least gave him a chance, and now before anyone mentions all the chemicals used at golf courses, I do realise this and know that it could be bad for him over time, but in all honesty, here at least he has a chance before he was a sitting duck and I'm surprised he survived there as long as he did. (Plus there is a nature reserve that the golf course backs onto, there's a chance he will make his way back out there in time.)
Now I was stoked to have helped Froggo on his journey to a better life, but it got me thinking about where he came from and why he was just sitting in the most bizarre place for a frog to take a nap. Then @ausbitbank discovered this little article which goes on about how Green Tree frog numbers are up because of recent rains that happened at the perfect time for the population to spike, it also mentions other reports of the frogs being found in other industrial estates as well.
I am certainly thrilled to see more of these little guys around, they were such a memorable fun aspect of my youth and it would be nice if they can hang on for the long haul. Farewell Froggo may you live long and prosper little dude.