It was what I like to call a “froggy” morning. The air was heavy and warm (66 degrees) for a pre-dawn winter day in Florida. The forecast called for fog, and before I even left my driveway, I was aware that visibility was limited.
My car was covered with moisture — not rain, which we desperately need, but condensation, a result of the humidity in the air. And leaves. Dollops of large, brown, sycamore leaves.
I closed my belongings in the trunk and myself in the car. I started the engine and immediately turned on the windshield wiper to clear the window just before I pressed on the gas pedal.
A “leaf” cleared from the window hit the roof above my head and stuck — or so it seemed. I drove down the street, heard another plop, and had the eerie feeling that something alive was clinging to my car.
Human? Surely not. Animal?
I switched on my high beams to ensure I’d see my neighbor who too often walks, nearly invisibly, down the middle of the road, despite the darkness of the hour. Though my eyes peered intently at the road before me, my ears were solely bent on locating and identifying the creature clinging to my car.
The sound drew my attention to the driver side window.
An enormous tree frog — roughly the size of my palm — clung to the window, staring at me.
Through the glass — or I might have crashed the car.
Instead, I drove as fast as the designated 25 mph sign would allow (so 30 mph), hoping the wind would shear the frog from my window. He leaped a little higher on the window but didn’t go flying.
I got onto the main highway, where the speed limit was 45 mph, and I gunned it, reaching 50 mph for the scant half mile before the speed reduced to 35 mph near the shopping centers and restaurants.
It was enough. Enough to have at least lost sight of the blasted frog, but every splat I heard was on my car, not under it, and I had the eerie sensation that the frog was still with me.
When I reached the health club, I cautiously opened my door, expecting… what? A slimy, vengeful frog on the attack?
I made it safely into the health club no worse for frog terror. I was still on guard when I returned to my car after my workout.
Later, I searched online to determine the frog’s identity, because this was no traditional Florida tree frog, of that I was certain. It appeared to be a Cuban tree frog — a prolific, invasive species that kills native frogs and usurps their territory and, therefore, should be killed “humanely.”
Such as shearing it from your car window at 50 mph?
I’d like to think that I was just doing my part for the environment in this frog eat frog world.
But I can’t know for sure if my “shear terror” did the job to euthanize the frog or not.
For all I know, he could still be out there. Ready and waiting.
In the photos: I obviously did not shoot a photo of the frog on my car, but I did manage to capture some shots of a similar frog on the wall of my house before it flung itself too close for my comfort. This frog I did not shear off my wall or otherwise cause its demise, but, apparently, I should have.