A lot of us, who are keen on frogs, often say to one another, “We’re going frogging”. Those who have never heard of the word give us the strangest of looks. “You’re going what?!” In short, ‘frogging’ basically means to go in search of frogs (I doubt it’s in the dictionary). To the normal city slicker, that just sounds weird, and to them it makes you a bit of a nutter. But it’s actually an incredibly interesting and amazing experience! When I first met Joelle, my fiancée, one of the first topics that came up were, “What do you like doing?”. My answer: “I like to go looking for frogs” (I thought it might not be too cool to start off with ‘frogging’). You could see the surprise in her face after that, and she had a good giggle. I wasn’t sure if that it was a good thing or not at the time, but it turned out to be okay. Nowadays, Joelle and I spend many of our spring and summer nights out in search of these unique animals. It can become a very addictive hobby, but that’s never a bad thing. One cannot ever spend too much time in nature.So, a normal night of frogging entails going walking out into a wetland, along a stream, or around a pond or dam. Wherever there’s water, in the right season, there will be frogs. You will not get bored, nor will you leave disappointed! Here in South Africa, we’re very lucky to have some really pretty and amazing frog species, and there’s around 120 +- of them! For those of us who live in KwaZulu-Natal, we could say that we are the most fortunate. We have the highest diversity of frogs in the country, which occur in some breathtakingly beautiful areas. Start taking advantage of this privilege! “What do I need to go frogging?”
- Gum boots, but if you happen to go in a tricky-to-navigate area, and really don’t want to get wet or muddy, get yourself a pair of waders. But getting water-filled boots, and ‘sloshing’ around in them is part of the experience.
- A torch: Headlamps are nice, especially if you are wanting to photograph frogs. However, you may receive a good intake of protein during the night, as insects may swarm around your light, and you’ll end up NOT going hungry that night. So sometimes hand-held torches are best. It isn’t always like that though, in fact it rarely is that bad. Don’t let it put you off!
- A camera: Learning to identify frogs, like with any group of animals, can be tricky. So taking photos, whether it be with your cell phone or camera, helps in this regard. It allows you to go back home, look up your books, or search the internet or post on Facebook, and will eventually help you in identifying the frog you saw. But this isn’t a necessity.
- Enthusiasm, patience, an open mind, and a desire to learn: Don’t go expecting to walk away clean, seeing every frog species that occurs in the area. That’s not how this works! Some species are quite easy to spot, others can be frustratingly difficult. It can be calling right by your feet, and you still won’t spot it! But enjoy the challenge. Also, to improve your experience, go with an open mind. Don’t just go wanting to see frogs, and nothing else. There’s so much more to see!