We’ve been scooping up frogs and bucketing them across Highway 30 for several years now, since that is the direction they insist on going in order to make replacement frogs, and we want them to keep doing that. Frogs have a number of obstacles in life. The other name for tadpoles, for instance, is “lunch.” But even if they manage to grow right the heck up to full size, they’re no match for a Chevy.

We’ve also been keeping nice data on them. We know exactly what sorts of conditions they require to make the trek (damp, dark, warmer than 43 degrees). Although, to be fair, we started out knowing that. It’s in The Literature. The Literature is where all the scientific knowledge is stashed so no one needs to remember it. We do keep track of the sex of the frogs and the weather and the temperature and stuff. It helps us know when to be on the lookout. This season we had something like six frogs venture out over the course of a few weeks and then, bam, 345 in one night. You want to be prepared for a detonation like that.

One of the patterns we’ve noticed over the years is that the great frog migration is led by males. They’ll be down at the pond telling tall tales and scoping out the competition weeks before the females make the trek. You can tell the males because they have long, uh, thumbs, and they’re very avid. Boing! Boing! Boing! Also they’re a lot smaller than females. This leads them to compensate, and for all we know, they’re compensating away day and night down there in the pond once we let them go.

Later the females lug themselves down the hill with nothing like the verve of the males (or spunk, if you will). Bloop. Bloop. Bloop. It’s hard to say whether they’re just not as enthusiastic about the enterprise or if it’s all that water weight. They’re packing upwards of a thousand eggs each and, honey, it shows. They’re one strand of elastic away from a world-class muffin-top. Perhaps there is some kind of primal drive getting them to the Mixer but it’s entirely possible they just want to dump the eggs. As soon as they hit the water at least one male is going to want to grab on and squeeze and he’s not about to be ditched at the punchbowl. He’s on there until he gets something to fertilize–that’s the nice term for it–and then he’s all done and the female has to find someplace to arrange the eggs in a neat ball and then she bops back uphill, stretch marks and all. The guys hang out a little longer in case another lucky lady happens by looking for a big thumb.

Plus, a bonus salamander.

I don’t know. I’ve never wanted to be a male but there are some things about the female condition that are not ideal. Primarily the bloat. I’d have been fine with lower pay and condescension if I could have negotiated away the bloat. If I were a frog I’d want to ditch those eggs all at once and as soon as possible.

In fact, I wouldn’t have minded that option myself. It’s one thing to harbor a pizza for a night or two and another thing altogether to suffer involuntary tissue turgidity once a month for decades, for no good reason. And to make it worse–it exactly coincides with the time everyone around you gets super annoying.