Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Lurkers...

The power went off just on dusk yesterday. This is not an uncommon occurrence in an area of trees, cyclones, flying foxes and dodgy drivers, but Ergon techies usually sort it out within an hour or two. So, there I was, sitting in the dark and looking at the stars, of which there are an awful lot in these clear tropical skies, when I heard a thump, followed by the rattle and crash of things falling off shelves.

It's not difficult to distinguish between the sounds of different synanthropic vertebrates. Possums are heavy-footed and obsessed with getting into the house via the flue on the wood heater. Fawn-footed melomys (native mice) climb onto desks, benches and bookshelves, but rarely knock things over. Green tree frogs (Litoria caerulea) combine clumsiness with an surpassed skill for house-breaking. And so I picked up the torch and went looking for the frog.

Which was perching on the in tray.


I left the front door open and the frog happily went out into the garden to spend the night feeding on insects and doing whatever else it is that green tree frogs do at night. Thinking that the frog would stay there — because Born Free and all that — I closed the door. I had underestimated the anuran house-breaking skill. During the night the frog found its way back in, sat in the sink for a while and then returned to wherever it spends the day. I expect we'll go through this again tonight.

9 comments:

Kirk said...

He seems very pleased with himself ? Herself?

Snail said...

They don't always look so smug, Kirk. Sometimes they look furtive and occasionally embarrassed. I don't know how something with no eyebrows can manage so many facial expressions!

Not sure if it's male or female. (I mean, I'm not sure. They can tell each other apart.)

NanaJude said...

I am enjoying having your Snail's Eye View back again.

Snail said...

Thanks! Mind you, I didn't get around to writing anything new today, so I've taken the lazy way out as you'll see at 4pm!

Snail said...

A friend who knows her frogs (and the things that live inside them!) just sent me this:

"I think it is a girl frog. Males generally have a darker throat (especially during breeding season)"

Little Brownie said...

Love your frog, though glad she's not in my in-tray, just the same. It's been so long since I was in the tropics I've forgotten how "friendly" some of the fauna can be - though brushies seem to be the same from one end of the country to the other, e.g. Tasmania. However Tas possums have the reputation of being bigger, blacker and even bolder - due to the island effect? Meanwhile I am keeping an eye on the developing tadpoles - possibly brown tree frog (Litoria ewingi) in the cattle troughs. I even fish them out for a rest in a bucket while cleaning the sludge out of the trough. They seem to be vegetarian and graze on the algae growing on the walls but show no interest in mossie wrigglers unfortunately.

Snail said...

You know, I haven't seen any tadpoles in the four years I've been up here. Not that I've actually put out anything big enough to attract frogs. (The toilet bowl doesn't count!)

sarala said...

How big is this frog that it could knock over something that you would hear falling? It looks tiny from the image.

Snail said...

It doesn't look very big from that pic, does it?! It's an adult. The head-vent length is about 10cm (4in), which would be equivalent to something like a North American green frog (Rana clamitans), I think.

This pic from the ABC site might give a better idea of how big they are: http://www.abc.net.au/science/scribblygum/March2001/img/f_GreenTreeFrog2.jpg