Swimming in the community pool, a stone’s throw from Lake Tsala Apopka, Anne and I see what appears to be a tiny frog clinging to the side of the pool. Upon closer examination we see that, yes, it is a cricket frog.
Anyone who lives in our community or near a lake in the south likely has heard the call of this frog in the evening. It sounds like someone is banging rocks or marbles together. It is a loud call from such a small creature, a mere 1.5 inches long.
It is the boys who are calling to the girls because after a heavy rain, romance is in the air. Female frogs will select the male based on his ability to sing to finest tune. Eggs are laid while the male fertilizes the eggs and eventually tadpoles hatch and mature into adults in just 90 days.
The best thing about these frogs is that they love to eat mosquitoes! Beware little frog because any animal larger than you will have you for dinner. And let’s not forget the cranes, egrets, herons and other wading birds that will hunt you down.
Anne and I discuss if we should force it out of the pool, but I hesitate to do that because of the hot Florida sun. Then, the little cricket frog climbs up over the pool ledge, leaps onto the hot concrete and with a few more jumps, it goes into the shrubs. Later, we hear the clanging of marbles and wonder if it is the one we saw. Hopefully, its call will attract more frogs to the pool area where they can act as bug zappers to keep the mosquito numbers low.