Thursday 17 February 2011

Two-headed eight-legged beasts

The two-headed eight-legged beasts are back! No, not a mutant arachnid – even with just one head spiders are scary . . . shudder. The creatures of which I speak are amphibians and often appear in our garden pond around this time of year. It seems too chilly yet for them to emerge from their cosy hibernation in the mud and the weather forecast is for a cold snap for a few days so they may well die to regret their enthusiasm.

Nonetheless, they are active once more, though surprisingly quiet. There are variations on the mutation; I have seen amorphous masses with six or seven heads and twenty-four to twenty-eight legs, some of which seem to be in opposition to the majority – that is, upside down.

Later on gelatinous clumps will appear on the pond’s surface, each with a small black inhabitant which, when closely observed, appears to move. Within a few days the jelly-dwellers have grown and soon will have consumed their surroundings. How strange that must be! Imagine eating your own house! Some of it would be so crunchy and difficult to chew and other parts would be decidedly unappetising if not downright disgusting.
So what do these wriggling black commas do when they’ve literally eaten themselves out of house and home? Well, the ones that aren’t immediately gobbled up by other pond residents continue to grow and before long have developed legs. They are undergoing tremendous changes and one day, provided no passing crow or magpie has feasted on them, they will metamorphose from gilled beings to air-breathing animals capable of leaving the water and living on land.
The frogs this year are camera-shy so the photos are of their bolder, older friends and relations from last spring. 
Yes, the frogs are alive and busy once more!

Who would not love that happy smiley face?
Late one day this week, when the sun had set and it was cold and dark outside, a large frog was spotted trying to break into our house. He sat next to the patio door, waiting for a foolish human to open it and allow him access. It was as well that he did not succeed for inside were four-legged animals that would have played with him but not known when to stop. Thus his chances of passing on his genes would have been dashed forever.

If you are too cold, little frogs, return to the dusky depths and slimy safety of the bottom of the pond.


  1. Tadpoles and now frogs - already? Imagine one trying to sneak into your house, too. LOL
    We had four more inches of snow yesterday and it is -16 Celsius here today. We saw tracks this morning indicating some of the deer had been by during the night to see if any frozen crabapples are left on the lower branches of our tree.
    Nobody plants anything here until May 24. They call it "planting weekend"!
    -- K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  2. How wonderful, and super pictures. We have toads in our garden, I just love them, they are both remarkable creatures for sure!

  3. I refuse to eat my new freshly painted house (I mean even only the inside) ! 2 weeks with 2 painters are enough.
    A friend of mine had a little frog in her pond named Zoe and it came when you called ! Imagine it even sat on the head of her dog ! It was a very tiny cute little frog, but he or she disappeared.

  4. Spring! Vicarious Spring...


    Love the froggies.


  5. He was keeping the flies out of your house...good frog.

    I love frogs, especially the treefrogs.

  6. I like frogs. Haven't seen live ones yet in our pond this year. I've seen a couple of dead ones thought and that's not a nice sight. We've fished them out and hubs buried them. Sad.
    But I'm sure this Spring the pond will be full of live ones again.

    Nice shots. You can really see those gold lined eyes.

  7. I have never heard of mutant frogs! My grandchildren would love to have one. I guess they would have to give it two names - one for each head. It is early for them to wake up - I hope they make it and enjoy the spring.

  8. but does not matter what happened, u have taken excellent shots...dont u think?

    I love them

  9. I am chuckling at the thoughts of that frog trying to break into your house.
    Your photos are great and your header is lovely.

  10. You've given us a fascinating insight into your pond. I have a liking for frogs. Sounds like they think it's time for Spring too.

  11. Yay! for the return of the frogs - I love them. Great photos.

  12. Actually, the thought of the mutant frogs are a teeny bit scary. I've read that frogs are the first to show when something toxic in nature is about. Fabulous photos!

  13. Growing up in hot tropical Borneo, we are used to frogs growing big quickly. By here in New Zealand, they take a long time, like I supposed it is the same in UK.

  14. Ooh sounds a little dark. But they don't look so scary when you scroll down to see them

  15. Wonderful!!! I stopped by and was greeted by the most AMAZING roses!!! Soooo nice to see those when we don't have Spring yet here in Michigan.
    I love the little froggies too!
    Thanks so much for visiting our blog!
    Have a great day!
    Caren and Cody

  16. I do like frogs, our old cat Leopold found one on the lawn once and sat on it to keep it still until we rescued it! Like the idea of one breaking into the house! LOL!

  17. I don't have a pond but lots of frogs in the garden, or maybe they are toads? They live under stones in rough areas.
    There's a river running below the house and there's a wettish meadow too. Sometimes there's a big puddle with a thick layer of frogspawn, but either the birds get it or there's a dry spell and they all whither in the sun.

    You asked about the figures on the lamp; I never thought to check before. Some of them are repeated, but not all.

  18. I love observing the tadpoles turning to frogs.
    No amphibians out here yet. It's still below freezing, and the creek is a solid mass of ice!

  19. Wow, amazing -did you take these frog pics? Also, I love your water-colory background! (I'm prejudiced I'll say, because I love waterolors!)


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