Sunday, June 18, 2006

Gray Tree Frogs and a Spider

Beth and I drove down to south Jersey to visit my good friend Tony, his wife, and their 3 year old son. We had a nice shrimp scampi dinner and then headed to the patio for some dessert at dusk. Tony told us about how he had been cleaning out his swimming pool and had found frogs breeding in it. I assumed they were bull frogs because those were the only frogs I had ever seen in a pool. As darkness approached, we heard a loud call coming from the pool area. At first I thought it was a funny sounding Red-bellied Woodpecker and then I realized it was actually the call of a Gray Treefrog (probably Hyla versicolor). Tony and I tried to locate where the call was coming from. Frogs tend to have a ventriloquil call so this was a tough task. It sounded like it was coming from the filter area of the pool, but every time we'd go over there, the call would stop. I had never seen a Gray Treefrog up close, so I was anxious to see the little 1.25-2" critter. It continued to call, but we couldn't find it. We sat back down and enjoyed some dessert (I made Paula Deen's Lemon Squares).

A few minutes after dessert, Tony's psychotic beagle was sniffing around the edge of the patio and something hopped away from him. It was a frog! The dog tried to make a treat of the frog by putting it in his mouth, but the frog jumped out. I quickly got up and snatched the little frog from the potential of death. He was a cute little guy and so delicate. I released him to the far back of Tony's yard, but he'll probably find his way back to the pool.

A bit later, the beagle was at it again. She appeared to have found another frog. Tony went to get the dog away from it, but it was no frog! Tony's words were, "Whoa, that is one big spider!" We turned on the porch lights and there was the absolute biggest spider I have ever seen in NJ. I could have put a saddle on this thing and rode it. It was a wolf spider and its abdomen must have been an inch across. You could even see the shine of its eyes in the light. It scurried up under Tony's vinyl siding never to be seen again. As I said to Beth, if we had a spider that big at our house, I would sell the place. :)

1 comment:

Anil said...

Lovely, enjoyed reading your account.