Friday, August 10, 2007

Brave Worker Fears No Warts (or, Small Plague of Frogs)

The company I work for is on the edge of a creek, so we regularly interact with the creek biosphere (which in our case includes “stinky bums,” who appear to be at the top of the food chain except when they’re inebriated, and “kids who throw rocks through our windows during the weekend”).

For this reason we sometimes need to deal with the birds and the beasties, and I have been elected the first-responder for wildlife emergencies. I’ve previously documented the forcible removal of salivating bats and panicked ducklings, and in the past I’ve also been the Chief Cricket Finder.

This week brought something new: I was called to rescue Bufo americanus. He’d decided to sleep on our wheelchair ramp, an especially non-warty structure that is a poor camouflage spot for toads. A nocturnal creature who just wanted to sleep the day right through, he was huddled up in direct sunlight, crouched in a posture meant to preserve water that also, as a bonus, communicates “don’t bother me or I'll urinate on you.”

Strangely, it seems I’m the only person who dares to pick up a toad. Of course nobody likes being pee’d on, but otherwise toads are entirely non-threatening unless you’re a fly or a centipede, which only a few of my co-workers are. Anyway, I’m proud to say that Bufo was returned safely to the creek (with an empty bladder) and neither of us suffered very much.

It also turns out that birds are inspired to crash into the windows near my desk, which some people think is hilarious but I think is really very tragic. I have yet to rescue a bird at my workplace, but I'm anticipating the day, and I have the splints and bandages ready.


Eric Little said...

Just print out and tape the first few lines of "Pale Fire" to the window--maybe they'll take a hint:

I am the shadow of the waxwing slain
By the false azure of the windowpane...

Eli said...

Toads are cool. And they make such pretty trills.

My most recent wildlife encounter, I'm sorry to say, was trying to help a gray squirrel after it fell from a tree onto the pavement 15 feet below. Of course, having a great big maybe-predator looming overhead scared it enough to send it scrambling awkwardly under a bush in a nearby garden. I hope it was okay, but my hopes aren't too high. At least it was warm and sunny and quiet there.

Muffy St. Bernard said...

Wow, it's not often you see a squirrel fumble a jump, they're incredibly footsure.

When I realize that I really can't help an injured animal, I try to act tough and talk about nature's harshness, but it doesn't work.

I will only feed the ducks and seagulls that limp.