|Cope's Gray Treefrog|
ProfessorRoush was adding a few "branches" to his bottle tree yesterday and had drilled three new holes, when he noticed some of the drilling shavings were piling up in the crook of a branch atop what appeared to be a weathered wood chip. I reached over to brush the shavings and wood chip away and at that point the wood chip opened its eyes and glared at me. Say what you will about the quality of iPhone photographs, it's always nearby and available, which allowed me to immediately snap these pictures of my new four-fingered friend.
Six species of frogs live in the Flint Hills region, and I believe this one to be a Cope's Gray Treefrog (Hyla chrysoscelis
) or perhaps the Cope Eastern Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor
), based on the characteristic enlarged toe pads. The two species cannot be separated based on external characteristics, but only by analysis of their calls, chromosomal material, or size of their red blood cells. This frog was already irritated beyond the point of making a sound and it was unlikely to appreciate any attempts to draw blood from it. My references, such as Joseph Collins' Amphibians & Reptiles in Kansas
, suggest that H. chrysoscelis
is the only one reported in Riley County. These frogs are tolerant of high temperatures and climb to the treetops on warm, humid summer nights.
I don't know what this little guy is trying to say to me. Frogs were tied with creation myths by early civilizations and worshiped as rainmakers. There was even an Egyptian frog goddess, Heqet
, who represented fertility and was depicted as either woman with a frog's head (yuck!) or a frog on the end of a phallus. She was present at the birth of Horus and breathed new life into him. In the Middle Ages, frogs became associated with evil and devil worship, likely from association with the three frogs of Revelations 16:13, "And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet." I'm going to believe that my frog is beneficial and is waiting to eat any evil spirits attracted by the bottle tree (or mosquitoes, which are the same as evil spirits in my garden).
Oh yes, and, as you can see, I've already changed out the crappy green and clear bottles on my earlier bottle tree rendition
. I ordered two dozen cobalt blue bottles last Monday and then added one of our own and the two bright pink bottles to make 27 bottles. Looks better, doesn't it? The mauve roses blooming in the foreground are Purple Pavement.
The pink bottles? Well, you can call it further whimsy, but I have a theory that the pink bottles will lure the evil spirits near and the blue bottles will capture them. Silly, but just as good a reason as any. It seems to have attracted the frog, anyway. The Smithsonian
, the frog, and I now collectively approve of my bottle tree.