My Pet Frog Likes This 'Republican Weather'
© John Laumer
Our family's pet Green Frog, as pictured, has lived in a little plastic pond outside the kitchen window for three years, after taking his bug eating assignment as the tadpole my son put there in the spring of 2009. At the time, we thought Frog would herald the first green US President in decades.
Ha! Frog's pond will have to boil before that happens - an event which may be close at hand the way things look.
This year, Frog emerged from his hibernation on about March 5th. At least, that's the first time we heard his evening croak, as he called out to a possible mate - 'this is my pond.' Alas, the nearest natural surface water is a mile's hop. Frog will have to content himself with harvesting the bugs from our deck and enjoying this Republican Weather. His genes won't be passed on because of isolation and another reason I'll discuss later.
Here's Frog's pond, just outside the kitchen window. When the window is open at dinner hour, he serenades us. On rainy or foggy evenings he hops across the deck to hunt in the yard. I see him do that after dinner, hopping down the three deck steps..1...(skipping step 2)...3.
© John Laumer
Republican Weather is what, now?
I thought of the term Republican Weather back in February 29th while writing Freaky February? Tornadoes, Daffodils & Santorum, in which I said
Here is it February 2012 and my yard has daffodils and other early spring flowers in full bloom. I've had daffodil leaves pop part way out of the ground in past Februaries, but never had them go into bloom this early. It's weird - and might be "Natures' way of telling you something's wrong."But it wasn't ripe for publishing.
It got a bit more ripe a week later with the post: Memories Lost To Climate Change: End Of Outdoor Ice Skating & Ice Fishing May Be Near. That's when I wrote:
When I bring up our warm winter here in PA as a topic of conversation - not even mentioning climate change, mind you - there is a discomfort in body language. It is simply too unpleasant to continue with the personal cognitive dissonance if the language centers of the brain have to kick in. So they look at the ground and change the subject.The western suburbs of Philly are mostly Republican, you see. I'm a frog out of water here.
Green frogs breed in semi-permanent or permanent freshwater. Males call from and defend territories. The distinctive call sounds like a plucked banjo string, usually given as a single note, but sometimes repeated.
The breeding season is from April to August.
Actual mating involves amplexus, whereby the male grasps the female with his forelimbs posterior to her forelimbs. The female releases her eggs and the male simultaneously releases sperm which swim to the egg mass. Fertilization takes place in the water. A single egg clutch may consist of 1000 to 7000 eggs, which may be attached to submerged vegetation.
Second reason Frog is not likely to produce viable offspring.
Being that he has no knowledge of water chemistry or amphibian ecology, he won't grasp this. Like Rick. Would a female Green Frog respond to his distant calls, providing an amplexus opportunity, the pond has already become so warm, so early, I doubt it would hold sufficient dissolved oxygen to keep the fertilized eggs viable. A real problem just before sun-up. Pond algae in it are growing like it was June; and that means more biological oxygen demand with the water unseasonably quite warm. It never gets to cool off with the day time temperature over 75 for several days running. And the spring sun ablaze.