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The Common Tree Frog

The Common Tree Frog

Author: Rahul Alvares
The common tree frog comes in a variety of colours including brown, yellow, grey or white. Photo: Rahul Alvares.

Found throughout most of India, Nepal, Bhutan and Sri Lanka, as well as western and southeastern Bangladesh, the common tree frog’s skin secretions of mucus and lipids help reduce loss of moisture and keep it slimy.

A few months ago, my youngest brother Milind came up with an unusual request for me. “If you can release these two sticky frogs far away from the house, I’ll update your website,” he said.

His request requires some explanation. The ‘sticky frogs’ he was referring to were the common tree frogs Polypedates maculatus. At any given time, two or three of these frogs can be found in residence in our house. They often hide inside cups in the kitchen or dining room and give my family a real fright when they pick up the cup and a frog comes shooting out of it. Even when the frog doesn’t pull a “Jack-in-the-box,” it leaves my family with extremely distasteful feelings when they realise that they very nearly took a sip from a cup with a live frog sitting inside. Sometimes it is a trouser you’re about to step into that habours this slimy amphibian inside.

You’ve probably figured out by now that Milind is the designer of my website and that he’d been sitting on some work I had asked him to do for a very long time. And I guess since he refuses to accept any money from me for maintaining my website, he feels fully entitled to make such strange requests off me from time to time!

I didn’t have to think about his request. It was a win-win situation for me since I dislike having the frogs around in the kitchen almost as much as he does! I grabbed the frogs with a cloth since I’m queasy about handling their slimy bodies with my bare hands, and put them inside a moist bag. The next morning I released them close to a pond a few kilometres away from our house.

My brother updated my website immediately after and a new set of tree frogs took up residence in my house the very next day. But despite my feelings of distaste finding them hanging around the dining table, I see no reason to get rid of them. I might need some work done on my website again!

The common tree frog comes in a variety of colours including brown, yellow, grey or white. What’s more, this species has the ability to change its colour to a certain extent to blend in with its surroundings.

J.C. Daniel writes in his book Reptiles and Amphibians of India that “this species often enters houses where it finds the atmosphere of bathrooms congenial.”

First appeared in: Sanctuary Cub, May, 2014.


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