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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.

April 15, 2009 — 6:21 pm
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