A Tree Frog Adventure

I had a small adventure at the Jacksonville Zoo. I was in the Florida reptile house, and a large frog was splayed on one of the glass doors. It was a Cuban Treefrog and was about the length of my hand.

A volunteer was in the building and said she didn’t want to let it out until she was sure it wasn’t part of the collection. She knocked on the door to the keeper area, but no one answered. So she ran down the path to have someone radio a reptile keeper.

I told her I would keep an eye on where the animal went, and keep people from entering the exhibit through that door (both to prevent escape and to keep the animal from getting crushed). Help arrived in the form of a more experienced volunteer who loved reptiles. She tried to catch the frog, but it jumped out of her hands and then squeezed itself into a corner. It looked up at us as though to say, “Are you going to hurt me?”

It had a right to fear. The first volunteer said they should freeze it, since it was an introduced species. The more experienced volunteer said they turn them loose; they come in all the time. Hurray! We opened the door, and it jumped out in a single leap.

Until today, I never thought of frogs as having deep feelings. But this frog’s expression changed my thinking. It had no desire to hurt us, and wanted only to live its life.

The Cuban Treefrog (Osteopilus septentrionalis) is an invasive species
found throughout Florida. It was introduced in the 1920s.

Photo by Kathy of Flickr

Published by cafsamsel

Carol Fullerton-Samsel is a nearly-native Floridian who lives with her husband of 25 years and three rescue animals. She is a [mostly] vegan, alcohol-free, [relatively] caffeine-free, Buddhist writer and day-hiker. Her novel, The Clones of Langston, was a Reader’s Favorite medalist and a New Century Writer Awards finalist. It tells the story of cloned workers who are abandoned to form their own society. As the facility housing them erodes, they discover a challenging new world—our own.

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