Today I dropped D off at school and ambled up the hill with a couple of other parents, discussing something, nothing and everything – when I suddenly spotted a tiny greeny brown frog. It was on the pavement and didn’t look like it would survive long with the army of parents trekking away from the school, the little thing looked like it was searching for a pond, but was far more likely to end up squished by a car or a heavy foot. I decided very quickly that I needed to save my new found friend.
This frog did not see why it needed rescuing and jumped towards the road, so I became even more determined to pick it up. By this time a couple of other parents were staring at me, and the two other mums I was walking up with were laughing. I did not care! Eventually I grabbed it and held it between my cupped hands, while the damp little thing flipped about between my palms and tried to poke its little nose between my fingers. I headed towards a hedgerow announcing very loudly that ‘I’m rescuing a frog!’, just in case people hadn’t seen the frog, and had only seen me grovelling on the pavement. Perhaps they were thinking my kids had finally pushed me over the edge.
Another mum crossed over the road towards me and said she knew someone with a pond, so I very carefully tried to tip the frog into her hands – the frog wriggled free and jumped for freedom – straight down a deep drain. By this time I had an audience, there must have been about five of us clustered around, with me looking very upset and announcing dramatically (as you do!) that ‘I might cry now’ as we stared down the drain at the tiny frog treading water in the disgusting drain water. I swear it was looking up at me hopefully.
Not one to be beaten, the other mum and I snapped off a couple of long branches from a nearby elderberry tree, and started poking them down the drain, encouraging the frog to climb on – which amazingly it did! Problem was the grating was quite close together and once we started trying to haul the frog up, we realised the leaves wouldn’t fit and the frog would fall into the drain again. Next attempt! We actually removed the drain cover, whilst checking all children were out of the way, the last thing we wanted was to rescue small children as well as small frogs. Obligingly the frog climbed onto the elderberry leaf again, and we had him out of there in an instant. At this point I should probably say that this is an activity not recommended at all! It is not safe, it is not big, it is not clever, and we did not touch the drain water at all (shudders). It was a case of desperate measures for desperate frogs.
Success! Covered in manky water, but unscathed, our frog was held very securely by my frog rescue partner – I don’t know her name, but I think that is how I’ll remember her from now on. The drain cover was replaced, and wet wipes were handed out liberally. This is not an activity that I recommend at all, it’s probably very risky, god knows what was down that drain. Anyway, I was assured that it was going to live a long and happy life in a pond on the other side of the road, so all’s well that ends well!
There’s one more tiny frog out hopping happily around in a pond somewhere this morning, thanks to us. It’s worth looking like an idiot just for that.