OH WOE! GRIEVES ANTHONY ROWLEY
I HOPE none of my readers has ever heard a frog scream. And never will. It is a horrible sound. 'The croaking—though it can become a menace when a whole colony gives voice —has always rejoiced me, for it spells summer and the countryside and most probably near-by water. But the other day, in our own garden. I suddenly heard two hoarse screams coming from beneath a hedge where a tell-tale gleam of orange betrayed the malevolent lurking of our marmalade cat. Hurried search revealed a dying frog, one leg bitten off. There was nothing to he done but chastise the cat and hope that it might learn to leave these friendly leaping creatures alone in future. But I doubt it. Where something moves, a cut must pounce, just for the joy of pouncing. And, illogical creatures that we are. we encourage them, as kittens, to do this by giving them bits of paper on the end of a string to play with, and then we blame the grown cat for carrying on its games with the live creatures of our fields and gardens. I don't believe cats eat frogs, any more than they eat shrews. The chief
enemy of the frog is the heron. who will fish for them by the hour, and once the creatures start hopping about in the fields and hedgerows. rats and stoats and weasels hunt them out; and the badger will eat frogs if he can find them.
THE British Herpetological Society A is carrying out research into the private life of the frog, and one of its concerns is to find where and how it hibernates. We know that they like to be near water, some even burying themselves in the mud at the bottoms of ponds, while others are content to creep into holes in the banks. They seem to like their own ponds (as toads choose to remain in their own gardens) and "return to them each autumn.
The edible frog. ironically enough is a greedy little creature. stuffing food into its mouth with both hands. and even gulping it under water. And they rise easily to the ,bait of the fisherman who, on a hot summer', day. can hardly pull them up quickly enough. As only the hind legs are eaten. at least 20 frogs must he caught to provide one portion on a menu.