A frog jumps on my head and becomes slightly tangled in my hair this morning at 3:30 am while I am sleeping. When I first feel it in my hair, I think I am dreaming of my Burmese cat, Spike, who was in my life for 16 years and woke me up when he had some kind of emergency during the night, or when he thought I should know something important that he knew and I didn’t.
But when the frog leaps from my head to the floor and the soft but distinct thud wakes me up, I turn on the light, see what is there huddled on the floor next to the bed, and try to decide what to do. Should I ignore it and go back to sleep? What if it jumps on my head again? I wonder – that’s cat behavior, but isn’t that unusual behavior for a frog? What was it trying to tell me?
It is not the first time an amphibian has found its way into my Florida household, so I know how to take a cup and a piece of cardboard and trap it, then toss it outside. But how to position him (her?) for capture? I turn on the light in the bathroom, the frog heads into the shower, and climbs the tiled wall. Easy target. I pin him with the cup, slide the cardboard underneath him, throw him outside and go back to sleep.
Family members up north react unsympathetically later this morning when I tell them that a frog jumped on my head, tangled itself in my hair, and by now in a delayed reaction I am freaked out and welcoming sympathy. My older brother asks me if I’d tried kissing the frog, and am I sure “it wasn’t a prince.” Younger brother says he didn’t know toads could climb. Only some of them can.
I begin to wonder: What kind of amphibian was this, exactly? I remember that even in my half-awake state when the creature was climbing the shower wall, I noticed it was as big as my fist, had huge eyes, was of mushroom color, and had round suction-cup feet.
Google holds the answer: I compare the many different kinds of frogs and decide it was a Cuban tree frog, an invasive species that eats all the good little frogs and toads. It can hurt humans with its secretions that irritate our skin and eyes. Yikes! You’re supposed to kill them by spreading some benzocaine ointment on their backs. However, nowhere in Google do I see where it says how to get the frog to stay still long enough to do that. Suggestions welcomed.
OLLI Instructor Sara Zimmerman joined OLLI-USF in early 2017. She has taken OLLI classes in technology, art appreciation and yoga and has taught German and Humanities courses for us. Sara spreads the word about OLLI throughout the Tampa Bay area; she leads our Speaker’s Bureau. In Winter-Spring 2019, Sara will teach Happy 100th Anniversary: Bauhaus School of Architecture (February) and Continuing Conversational German (March)