Sunday, April 28, 2013

American green tree frog

I think I speak for many Houstonians this morning when I ask, "What the hell just happened?!"
Late yesterday, we had a classic unforecast major rain event.  We were supposed to get a bit of rain, but nobody told Missouri City to expect eight inches of rain, and nobody told Pasadena to expect five inches.   And what happens with this kind of unforecast event is many, many high-water rescues around Houston

Screengrab above and below from the Harris County Office of Emergency Management rainfall map (Flood Warning System). 
Things weren't as severe in the Clear Lake area, but we still got over two inches of rain in League City. 
Some unfortunate folks were calling yesterday's event a "car floater" (this Chron link shows the inevitable submergence of cars on Highway 288 near the 610 exchange... how many more decades will it be before they fix that danged thing, anyway?!).  But many Houstonians instead refer to those events as "toad floaters", although in certain circumstances, the term used may be somewhat less polite, a situation that could potentially be remedied via a management approach such as this one, which leads to the efficient removal of the offending material that has the potential to float.

Anyway, I prefer "toad floater" and so in honor of yesterday's surprise deluge, this post is dedicated to not a toad, but a related backyard amphibian. 

Do you ever wonder what all those sounds are, those "creature noises" that emanate from your greater Houston / Galveston County back yard at night?  Some of it might be originating with one or more of these guys:
An American green tree frog.  This particular guy had taken shelter in one of my gardening buckets shortly before all hell broke loose, meteorologically-speaking.  Maybe he used his frog senses to deduce that the rain was coming and was hoping the bucket would fill up for him. 
These things are extremely shy and are much easier to hear than see.  They're also nocturnal, so if you do encounter one by the light of day, it's most likely because you've accidentally uncovered its hiding place, as I did with this one above.
They are fantastic jumpers and often fling themselves with wild abandon only to unexpectedly hook some stationary object with one of their sticky feet, such that they come whipping around to rest upon it.  That's what this guy did in jumping out of my bucket and latching onto this hose stand.  Then he hunkered down like this and hoped I wouldn't take any further notice of him. 
So there's some info on one suburban back yard resident that you might not have known you had, and I'll close by embedding a brief vid of the croaking that these guys produce (ignore the thunderstorm in the first few seconds, although that, too, is a propos of yesterday's weather in Houston):

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