Monday, September 26, 2011

Rogue Leopard Frogs

Leopard frogs (pic borrowed from are a sensitive species and maybe threatened here in the Black Hills and probably a thorn in the side of loggers and miners like the sage grouse is in Wyoming. The wildlife people here at the Forest service like to know where the leopard frogs are so that the habitats can be protected. Since my job takes me all over the Northern Hills and Bear Lodge Ranger Districts in the Black hills and my job involves water, I come across many leopard frog habitats. When I find them, I let the wildlife people know and usually give them a map pointing to where I found them…the frogs that is.

Thursday I found a rogue frog. There I was, minding my own business driving up a road I had no business driving my little Chevy Colorado up. The road was bad and I've never been up this particular road before. When I come up to a big mud puddle of some questionable quality, I get out of the truck and check it out. In the case of mud puddles, which have the potential to swallow small buses, I get out and poke around it with a stick to see if I'll sink down to sea level or be OK passing through it. So, I'm driving up the 628.1C road (that's a Forest Service designation...the "C" is short for "you don't have to be crazy to drive this road, but it helps") and come across a puddle 10' long and wide as the road-granted the road is only wide enough for one vehicle if you don't mind brushing trees on either side as you go. So I'm poking around the puddle-it's only 12" deep and has a good solid bottom and something moves in the water...WTF. It wasn't a started "WTF" just a general curiosity "WTF" since usually things don't move in puddles in the road. I poke around some more and it's a damn leopard frog. It's not supposed to be there. There's no ponds that I know of around. Being the general don't-want-to squish-something-under-my-tires kind of guy, I keep poking at the frog till it gets fed up and hops out of the puddle into the brush. I continued on my way splashing the truck with a fresh coating of mud and the frog went on its merry way doing whatever frogs, who are nowhere there supposed to be, go on doing.

Today I asked the wildlife people about this and according to them, these frogs have been known to wander a mile or more away from good habitat. Stupid frogs. On a positive note, before I found this information out I decided the frog had to come from someplace and ended up finding yet another unmapped spring nearby.