Sunday, 18 March 2007

Sex and Violence in Suburbia

Early March, and there is an amphibian orgy at the bottom of my mother’s garden.

Go out in the dark and there is a constant sound, a low throbbing underlying the distant hum of traffic and the barking of the dog in the next street, audible even from my bedroom. It’s the croaking of frogs. Recent warm weather has spurred them into amorous action, and they have gathered in Mum’s ponds to indulge in some hot frog-on-frog action. Huge billows of spawn bear testament to their activities, and there is a mighty splashing whenever we venture down the garden path, as they dive below the surface in a flurry of waving legs. In twos and threes, or even more, they cling together, each male trying to grab hold of a compliant female, even if he has to share her with several other males. He locks his forelegs around her ponderous middle and hangs on until she’s ready to lay her eggs, to make sure he’s in the right place at the right time. But it’s a wise frog that knows its own father, as any one of the attendant males could be Mr Right. Sometimes their cumulative enthusiasm is too much, and the female is so beset by suitors that she drowns.

Feeling rather the voyeur, I venture down the garden and try to count heads (or legs). It’s a losing battle, as they pop up and vanish all over the place, in the ponds or in the undergrowth – I lose count at thirty, and under the reproachful stare of many gold-ringed amphibian eyes, retreat to the house.

In revenge, they croak loudly all night.

5 comments:

Maike said...

oh dear! LOL amphibian hardcore. i bet they were disgusting with you for watching them, Mad :-P

what is happening now, that it has gone so cold again? are they going to have to start all over?

mad said...

Probably the bulk of the spawn that is at the top of the pond will freeze and be lost. Some of the lower stuff is far enough down to survive, and that will be the tadpoles for this year. The frogs have done their thing, unless there are late-breeders, and that's that for the year. I've seen spawn in half frozen ponds in early February after a warm spell, so it's not exactly unusual. Hazards of climate fluctuation.

Anonymous said...

All that effort, it seems a shame.

We get little froggies in our basement occasionally. They croak away down there, serenading us.

Jude

j. said...

*blink*

the tropics suddenly sounds like a fab idea. :P

GfM said...

Drown the female? Eeek! Makes it a snuff experience instead of the usual hardcore ;)

J. :roflmao: about your comment.