Toad-ally talented creator, NatureCon collaborator and lifelong frog enthusiast, Mr.Moose from -MUSU-, sat down with us recently to share his fascination with his favorite amphibians. He also talks about the conflict between the pool industry and frogs, shares what we as humans can do to protect them, and reveals how his love of frogs is reflected in his creations.
At NatureCon, we added some of your frog-themed table games. Where does your fascination and passion for frogs come from?
I’ve loved frogs and toads since I was a child. I think some of this fascination comes from my fond memories of gardening with my mother. We would use broken pots or bowls to create “frog houses” so that they could live and help protect our garden. These creatures just happen to be cute, and a little silly looking. Which just makes me like them more. Outside of being cute, I am very interested in protecting the environment, and frogs play such an important role that we should not overlook these little critters!
How does your love for frogs reflect in your creations?
My love for frogs, or animals, I hope does reflect in my creations. I have only three amphibians, the “Munch Munch Lunch” Board Game, a literal TOAD, and some frog lights. Though I also have items inspired by cats, dogs, whales, and birds. I’d say these items reflect my involvement with nature and animals. They are always on my mind, and I hope I will find the opportunity to make more in the future.
We hear that you also work in the pool industry. This seems to pose quite a source of conflict when you want to protect frogs. Can you share more insight?
Yes, I have worked in the pool industry for a while now, and it has made me more aware of how pools affect the environment. I could ramble about many different effects pools have, but I’ll focus on just the frogs today.
Frogs seek out water in dry areas, and are naturally attracted to pools. Additionally pools often have their natural prey floating on the surface or caught in the skimmers, making pools even more attractive to these amphibians. Once a frog enters a pool, they will be unable to escape, because pools are not designed to allow them to.
Each year I pull an uncountable amount of deceased critters from pools, it is an unfortunate reality that the number one critter would be frogs. “With almost 5 million in ground pools and 6 million above ground pools in the US alone, amphibian casualties by swimming pools likely number in the tens or hundreds of millions.” (cited from: Hansen, C. (2020). Amphibian population impacts from swimming pools. Amphibian Survival Alliance. https://www.amphibians.org/news/amphibian-population-impacts-from-swimming-pools/)
In your opinion, what could the individual do to help protect frogs?
Talk to your HOAs! Ask them to secure your pool against wildlife. It can be as simple as adding a small fabric barrier around the bottom of the pool fencing. This will keep out a lot of small animals from accessing the pool, but it will serve another function to keep debris out as well.
Ensure the company your HOA has hired is checking the skimmers daily! If you have your own pool, this should be something you are doing as well. Wildlife can survive in a pool for a short time, but not even humans are designed to live in those chemicals for too long.
Lastly, companies have recently begun designing amphibian rescuing devices such as the “Frog log” which you leave floating in your pool when you are not using it. This allows frogs to have a surface to survive on until you are able to rescue them. There are options out there for helping wildlife. I implore you to use them.