Don’t step on the frogs.

There is lots of time for thinking when you run.  Sometimes the thoughts are practical:  “What will I cook for dinner?”, “The oil in my car needs to be changed.”.  Sometimes they are profound:  “Why did God put this river here?  And why did He make all these damn bugs?”.  Sometimes though, the thoughts are just plain weird.

There has been a lot of rain the last couple of weeks, which seems to have produced a lot of frogs.Of course the rain did not actually produce the frogs, they must have come from somewhere, but where?   And where do they go the rest of the time?  Of course this led to more weird thoughts about toads, and snakes and the little orange salamander I saw the other day.

For some reason, this year there seem to be more toads than usual in the woods.  I’ve seen a few big ones, but many really tiny ones, some as small as a thumbnail.  As I thought about this, I realized that I hadn’t seen many snakes this summer, which is too bad cause snakes are really cool. Then I thought that maybe those things were related… less snakes eating toads, so more toads hopping around in the woods.  (Sometimes, all this thinking doesn’t really get you anywhere!)

Then I got to wondering what is the difference between frogs and toads.  I found some neat info here:  42explore.  Well, they are both  small tailless amphibians making up the order of Anura, one of three main groups of amphibians.  They both start as eggs laid in the water, and grow into tadpoles.

Frogs have smooth, moist skin, long back legs,  webbed feet, and big, bulgy eyes.  They are good swimmers, and can jump long distances.  They generally live near the water.  Toads have flatter bodies, dry, bumpy skin. and shorter back legs.  They live mostly on land.

What does all this have to do with stepping on frogs?  Well, when there is a lot of rain,  big puddles form on the trails.  As you run through or around these puddles, frogs jump from the grass near your feet into the puddles.  Lots of frogs, tons of frogs!  And the puddles are murky and muddy, so I’m always afraid that if I go stomping through them, I will step on a frog.  I rode my bike over a frog once, and it was gross and messy (even worse for the frog).  I really don’t want frog guts on my shoes.

So this brings me back to where do all these frogs come from after the rain?  Where do they go the rest of the time?   Do they live in the river and decide when it rains “Hey, I think I’ll go hangout in the puddles and commit suicide by runner?”.  Why are the frog so much bigger than the toads?  Where did all the snakes go?  And why can’t I just get my brain to shut up when I run???

What do you think about when you run?


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