Saving... A plague of Frogs
July 10, 2019 8:33 AM   Subscribe

So this spring our very old above-ground pool had some issues and with climate change it rained where we live until July. Lo I go to finally fix it this weekend and there are hundreds of tadpoles of the Gray tree frog in our pool.

So I do some research and the big problem is the in between stage. So we have about 70 cm in our pool of very green water with LOTS of Mosquitoes meeting there death BUT the top of the pool is insurmountable for pollywogs AND my research says that they will need VERY shortly places to rest outside of the water.

I have been naturalizing our land (4 Acres) for about 4 years so we have gone from 0 Monarchs to 1000s by naturally allowing the milkweeds to come back.

Saving the frogs is a priority because as it is at dusk you have to raise your voice to talk over the "Peeping"

The frogs are more important than swimming this year BUT I would like to preserve my pools liner.

I need suggestions for:

1) How to make Islands? Or something else? that wont kill my pool, or me cleaning it out when they are frogged
2) How to give them an escape route when they need it
3) How to evict them when they are all grown up. We do not need adult frogs using us and just playing games all winter in our pool.

We are broke so even $1 of supplies is out of the question.
Moving them in the great pollywog rescue would be fine BUT OUR pool is large and there are a LOT of tadpoles to crowding them will also make them more cannibalistic from my reading... There is a pond close to us in the neighbors yard BUT herons lovely nasty frog eating herons LOL

Do you love frogs? help us help them.
posted by mrgroweler to Science & Nature (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Styrofoam. Chunks of busted up, cheap cooler. Paint them green if you have aesthetic problems with it. You could work out tarp wrapped under one edge and draped over a side to facilitate escape. A big enough tarp could go all the way to the ground at an angle, weighted with rocks making a down ramp. Styrofoam could pile up high enough to meet the pool edge from the inside. In my town there is a foam place that has a lot, relative to your needs, of extra pieces. It might be easier to stabilize the floating side in a corner.
posted by Oyéah at 8:54 AM on July 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

Best answer: For their islands- just float some pieces of wood. Use big natural branches collected on a walk in the forest or driftwood from a beach-- do NOT use "lumber" or pieces of fencing or furniture, in case the sawmill wood is treated with poisonous chemicals or the paint / varnish leaches out into the water.

Pieces of packing styrofoam would be good islands too- like you could ask at a shop that sells computers or electronics for some styrofoam. Maybe slice it up a bit, so there are "ramp" shapes leading down below the surface of the water, so little frogs could walk up to the surface.

As for their escape route, you can lean some large branches leading up and out of the pool, and then down to the ground, I guess? I like the tarp idea too. Old shower curtains or painting dropsheets would work if you don't have a tarp.

Or maybe you could just catch the frogs when they're bigger, and transplant them to a good nearby habitat? Anyway not all the tadpoles will live to become frogs- that's just how nature is- so there won't be as many later. Cannibalism and herons are probably just a reality of frog life.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:09 AM on July 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

You could offer them up to your local nature preserve/botanical garden/nature camp/preschool.
posted by xo at 9:21 AM on July 10, 2019

Local nature and wildlife rescue pages on Facebook will bend over backwards to give you supplies! Thank you for saving the cute loud little bug eaters!
posted by Mistress at 10:41 AM on July 10, 2019 [4 favorites]

Best answer: If you don't want branches or styrofoam chunks drifting around and clumping up at one side of the pool (and banging into the liner) then anchor them. Tie a rope/string to the float and to the handle of a bucket or rocks or other heavy non-abrasive object, set the length at your water depth.
posted by aimedwander at 10:42 AM on July 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

This exact situation was going on in a neighbor's pool last year! Thing is, these guys can really climb & once they're little froggies, they will hang on the walls of the pool. So you could throw a few branches in for them to rest on during their in-between stage, but I wouldn't go too crazy building something elaborate.

The neighbors had a pool that had gone pondy & they wanted to restore it. So they invited Mr. Kyoto & myself one evening to come over & get 'em. We grabbed up an impressive & very vocal garbage-bag full of frogs, & delivered them to a nearby pond. (And yes; we love frogs!)
posted by Wylie Kyoto at 1:28 PM on July 10, 2019 [2 favorites]

You might want to give away / set free a lot of them, so that the remaining ones will have enough space and food. The ones you give away / set free will have more resources in their new homes.

Maybe contact some schools and see if any classrooms there would like some tadpoles?
posted by amtho at 3:17 PM on July 10, 2019

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I used a lot of the ideas. and eventually went with Hulu Hoops with raw hemp twine (local), fallen cedar, bracken etc woven into the inner area of the Hoop, Pool noodles as bumper/floats and an anchor just in case. I have had them in place for about 4 days and I saw the first froglette today. So far we have lost about 1/2 of what we started with, as expected probably eating themselves.

For everyone worried about where they will live I was not worried because they are tree frogs and have about 2 acres on my land and another 400-500 behind me that is all forest.

I hope even a few make it out of our human pool trap.
posted by mrgroweler at 12:20 PM on July 18, 2019

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