Slime Magazine

Here are some real stories of our slimy green friends in the news.

Frog City

Rayne, Louisana calls itself the Frog Capitol of the World. The town hosts the annual Rayne Frog Festival, and there are murals and banners all over town featuring the bug-eyed green amphibians -- even the town's McDonalds has a frog theme. The city has had its frog fixation since 1989.

New Orleans Times-Picayune, December 1993

Toad Crossing

Every year in Britain about 300,000 toads get squashed while crossing roads to get to their breeding pools. Hundreds of volunteers all over England are coming to the rescue by spending their evenings ferrying the warty amphibians across the roads in buckets.

One of the volunteers, Mick Durant, explained how he got involved in the toad rescue:

``I just went down the lane one day when it was wet and warm to buy a packet of cigarettes, and I saw all these poor little animals on the ground just splattered everywhere.''

``I mean, I'm a builder and builders are supposed to be strong. But driving home one night and seeing all the dead toads, I just sat in my car and cried.''

AP, March 1994

Toad Busting

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, the problem is trying to get rid of toads. Cane toads, a South American species, were introduced to Australia in 1935. With no natural predators in Australia, they've bred so rapidly as to become a pest. The giant toads are poisonous and have huge appetites for native animals, posing an ecological threat to the Australian environment as well as a nuisance to humans.

The Brisbane City Council is now promoting cane toad busting as a fun activity that the whole family can enjoy. One Brisbane radio station even offered a free trip to Hawaii to whoever caught the most cane toads in a week.

But, gone are the days of simply whacking the toads with cricket bats or golf clubs. As part of the new emphasis on toad busting as family fun, the toads are now collected in plastic bags and killed humanely by freezing them to death. Said one toad expert, ``We don't want anyone to be cruel to animals. It's not the toad's fault that they are here.''

Reuters, October 1994

Toad Invasion

The village of Kazatskoye, in Russia near the Ukrainian border, has been invaded by hordes of toads. According to the ITAR-Tass news agency, ``The unbidden amphibian guests are so numerous that sometimes you can't put a foot down outside.'' Old-timers in the village remember another toad plague in 1943.

AP, June 1995

Frog Wars

Residents of Windham, Connecticut have started a fund-raising drive to pay for six-foot-high bronze frog statues to be installed on the new Willimantic River Bridge, which would commemorate an incident from local history.

According to local folklore, Windham residents were scared witless one night in 1754 by an incredible noise. Some prayed for salvation, while others attempted to chase away the mysterious invaders with an armed attack, firing guns at the source of the noise.

In the morning, settlers found hundreds of dead frogs in a nearby mill pond. The noise was apparently made by frogs fighting among themselves for space as the pond was drained.

AP/Boston Globe, July 1995

A Giant Leap for Frogkind?

Four female African clawed frogs were passengers on the space shuttle Endeavour in September 1992. Eggs from the frogs were collected and fertilized, and four days later hatched into ``fully functional little tadpoles that could swim around and use their eyes,'' according to Steve Black, a biologist at Reed College in Portland. This was part of an experiment to determine the effects of gravity on reproduction and fetal development.

But, Black said, ``We had to kill some of them. We had to slice them into ribbons to measure their little tiny guts -- they really are tiny.''

Reuters/AP, March 1995

Olympic Frogs

Tiny Green and Golden Bell Frogs are causing big problems as construction for the 2000 Sydney Olympic games gets underway. The frogs, which are an endangered species, live in a trash-filled abandoned brick quarry on the Olympic site. The frogs have taken to this unlikely habitat because it's not connected to other bodies of water that harbor predators, and the junk provides them with convenient hiding places. So far, efforts to relocate the frogs have not been successful.

Meanwhile, a small but devoted fan club is hoping to get the frogs named as the official mascots of the Sydney Olympics. Their green and gold stripes match the colors of the Australian team, and, according to one biologist, "The frogs are good at long-jumping and high-jumping".

Wall Street Journal, August 2, 1995

Alien Frog Invasion

Noisy tree frogs have invaded the Hawaiian Islands, and have spread so quickly that state and federal officials say there's little they can do.

The cute green frogs, the size of a dime to a quarter, arrived in shipments of agricultural goods, possibly in potted plants, researchers say.

Instead of croaking, they chirp -- loud and often. Individual males have piercing chirps that reach as high as 90 to 100 decibels from a foot and a half away. That's comparable to a lawn mower, table saw or helicopter, according to the University of Hawaii's Speech Pathology and Audiology department.

The frogs were first noticed in the mid-1980s in rural Kurtistown on the Big Island, but have since spread to parts of Oahu, Maui and Kauai.

From a dozen population sites early last year, the frogs have spread to 150 places on the Big Island, and the state has set up a hot line where residents can call to report their appearance.

They don't create a major problem in their native Caribbean, where natural predators control their population. But with an exponential reproduction rate and no enemies other than angry humans, the frog population in Hawaii has exploded.

In some areas, there are more than 8,000 frogs per acre.

AP, December 28, 2000

Read more about the frog invasion here.

France Overrun by Giant Frogs

"What's two feet long, weighs four-and-a-half pounds and eats almost anything in its path?"

American bullfrogs introduced as a joke 20 years ago are displacing native frog species in the Aquitaine region of France. The French are especially unhappy because the bullfrogs aren't as tasty as the local species., Apr 03, 2001

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