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Ze Pelophylax ridibundus…eet laffs at me


In 1935, Mrs E.P. Smith, wife of the Member of Parliament for Ashford in Kent, decided to surprise her husband. And not in the usual way. She wished to buy him some edible French frogs for their garden in Stone-in-Oxney. Unable to find edible French frogs, she settled for a dozen Hungarian Laughing Frogs instead. No, I’m unclear on this thought process, too.

The buggers promptly escaped. By the 1960s, they had colonized the whole of Romney Marsh and by the…umm…right now, most of the Southeast Coast of England (and even beyond). As they don’t seem to be doing any harm, nobody cares.

Pelophylax ridibundus (the Marsh Frog or Laughing Frog) is a big blue-green warty fucker, up to six inches long. The little ones eat bugs and slugs, but the big ones can eat mice and voles(!).

As you probably guessed, what they’re really known for is this:


In marshy places, where there are many drainage canals, the chorus in high Summer is madhousish. Bedlamanian. I haven’t heard this in person yet, but Uncle B would pull the car over and hold the cellphone up for me to enjoy from my desk 3,500 miles away.

Badger House has its own contingent. A trio, to be exact, in the long canal at the back of the garden. Tonight, they tuned up for the first time this year.

Sheesh. And he complains about my banjo playing.


Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: April 15, 2009, 7:02 pm

I don’t really complain about Her Ladyship’s banjo playing.

The neighbours? Who knows. They seem to be out a lot these days.

Comment from dfbaskwill
Time: April 15, 2009, 7:51 pm

Bedlam references now with sounds! This blog gets more interesting each day. Those kinds of white noises are what I paid Sharper Image a lot of money for. Apparently I’m the only fool, as they have since gone under. White noise can’t pay the bills, I guess.

Comment from Jill
Time: April 15, 2009, 8:08 pm

Oh God…don’t tell me you have banjo-playing frogs!?!?!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 15, 2009, 8:15 pm


Comment from dfbaskwill
Time: April 15, 2009, 8:48 pm

Sharper Image is gone! Now we’re down to Brookstone, which is OK, but just not as upscale. It’s possible they will be back as an online only concern, but gadgets are meant to be handled and browsed among, like skunks, raccoons, and anteaters.

Comment from Anonymous
Time: April 15, 2009, 9:06 pm

Sharper Image didn’t die; they just depixilated….

Comment from Gnus
Time: April 15, 2009, 9:39 pm

‘Tis true. Apparently Sharper Image wasn’t.

(and LOL @ Jill)

I was gonna mention, Sweasel, that you’ve been on fire lately, graphically speaking. Now I’m just glad I waited until you’d survived the fireball. 🙂

Comment from blake
Time: April 15, 2009, 10:51 pm

Mandatory banjo-playing frog:


Comment from Enas Yorl
Time: April 16, 2009, 12:08 am

Sharper Image was always a fun store to browse through, but rarely to buy from. Everything was always either slightly impractical or over-priced or both. Having said that, I do wish I’d picked up a decent nose-hair trimmer from one of them before they closed.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: April 16, 2009, 12:52 am


Stoatie, can you say LAWN DART?

Comment from Deborah
Time: April 16, 2009, 1:00 am

Maybe some evening, when the frogs are in full throat, you can slip out and play your banjo for them. When they hop in to see what all the commotion is about, you can nab ’em.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 16, 2009, 6:32 am

I used to buy the bulk of Uncle B’s Christmas gifts from Sharper Image. They were impractical but fun. Of course, I’m paying for it now — going through boxes of junk he moved down from London and trying to find a use for all the crappy Sharper Image junk I bought over the years.

Comment from dfbaskwill
Time: April 16, 2009, 7:56 am

My Sharper Image Sound Soother mutters on. I especially like the city sounds, cars honking and trucks going by. Crickets and waterfalls only get you so far. The most bizarre sounds are the loons and the foghorns! Who listens to foghorns to get to sleep?

Comment from Jill
Time: April 16, 2009, 8:48 am

df, I think the Gorton’s Fisherman.

Comment from JuliaM
Time: April 16, 2009, 1:26 pm

There is an answer to the problem of noisy frogs…

Comment from Nicholas the Slide
Time: April 17, 2009, 3:39 pm

I want a recording of this madhouse noise. I know a few people I want to hear it. 😈

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