What is missing?

After posting the other day about the changing climate and the drought in our part of the world, I was thinking about what else has changed. When we first moved here we had a lot of these . . .

Common toad (Image Source: Wikipedia)

By “these” I mean frogs and toads. As you’ll know if you’ve been following my blog for a while, frogs and toads are not my favourite creatures. At that time they were not in short supply. I don’t know if they lived in our yard, or migrated from the empty property (i.e. no house yet) next door every evening. However, every night there would be guaranteed to be a couple of nice, big ones out in the yard. I didn’t go outside without shoes on (like a lot of South Africans, I like to walk around at home without my shoes on), or a torch to illuminate my path. If we left the doors open at night there was a risk that one of them would hop inside. A small risk, I know, but if you have a frog phobia it’s significantly alarming! When this actually happened one day, and Willie was not at home to relocate the frog for me, I had to use a Tupperware container to catch it. No way was I actually going to touch the frog – not even with gloves on. Then the dog’s water bowl was a nice sized swimming pool for at least one amphibian on a hot night. So the dog would often have to come inside to drink out of the cat’s water bowl, when hers was occupied.

Since then a house has been built next door with a nice big swimming pool in the yard. At first I assumed that the frogs and toads now had a much more comfortable place to hang out in. We still had some frogs in our garden, but not as many as before. Then I noticed that other things were missing too. The bugs. No bugs, no frogs? During the first two years we were here they were plentiful. When Lucy (the cat) was little she had play sessions on the wooden deck almost every summer evening, trying to catch the moths that fluttered around the deck light. Then no more moths. Or not enough to get the cat excited anyway.

It’s not only the moths, it’s all the insects. While I don’t miss some of them too much, I do miss having lots of these . . .

Dragonfly (Image source: Wikipedia)

Monarch butterfly (Image source: Wikipedia)

For people reading this who do know their insects: I am aware that these are not South African species. The photographs were just so beautiful. I encourage everyone to click on the images and take a look at the photo credits and additional information provided on Wikipedia.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Categories: Nature/Environment, Random


I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at https://notesfromafrica.wordpress.com and http://southerncape.wordpress.com (my photoblog)


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6 Comments on “What is missing?”

  1. November 15, 2010 at 12:04 pm #

    Ahhh, so now you want the frogs back! Love the new design of your blog site.
    Sunshine xx

  2. November 15, 2010 at 12:30 pm #

    Hi Sunshine! The sun is REALLY shining here today . . . You always say my blog design is good! 😉 Even though I liked the colours of the last one, I felt it was too cluttered and claustrophobic. So on the weekend I did a study of what worked on other sites. There are things I really like about the Vigilance theme I’m using, and some I really don’t. So don’t be surprised if there’s another change in the future!

    The frogs. Mmmh . . . Don’t like them much, but the fact that there are less of them is a problem. Read or heard somewhere that if there is a problem in the environment, the amphibians are the first ones to suffer because they absorb water and oxygen through their skins. So they really are an indicator species for things going wrong.

  3. November 16, 2010 at 8:27 pm #

    Since we moved to the Eastern Cape coast years ago I only came across a big frog once. But that was long, long ago when part of our backyard was flooded after a good rains. I suspect any and all frogs around here will hide (live) in the small valleys where it is more likely to find water. Until I read your post I haven’t really thought about it much. One thing I’m not looking forward to, when the drought is over, is the return of mosquitos.

    • November 19, 2010 at 7:56 am #

      Ah, I had forgotten about mosquitoes. We haven’t seen to many of those either in the last year. Am definitely NOT missing them!

  4. March 18, 2011 at 9:09 am #

    The decline of your frogs may be attributal to a number of things. From what I am reading then it was habitat destruction from development. However, there are numerous things that can be attributed to frog declines. Chytrid (a frog fungus that is effecting populations worldwide) may be a possible cause but without data on rainfall, temperature and number of infected frogs it is difficult to conclude.

    • March 18, 2011 at 11:51 am #

      Thanks for all the info about frogs. What you said on your site about frogs hiding until there were proper rains again, makes sense. About a month after it started raining here, there were lots of frogs about again. At least I could hear them again at night.

      I’m quite happy to co-exist with the frogs, as long as they respect my personal space! 🙂

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