On my normal drive to a village for a class this past Friday, I noticed a new sign along the road. It was a red framed triangle with a black frog silhouette on a white background. Underneath this sign was a rectangular sign with a start and end date.
For an American from the Midwest, the only real sign we see with animals on them is the ubiquitous jumping deer that warns drivers that suicidal deer are abundant in the area. These are the most common signs placed by the government with animals. Yes, there are all sorts of animal crossing signs or “beware of” signs that people put on display on private property- so a frog crossing sign isn’t a new sight, just one put up by the government/ community is a novelty for me. It is not something I am aware of being common in the US.
This particular frog crossing sign placed near Kolovo, is to warn people that there is a seasonal frog migration in the area for mating purposes and to attempt not to squish them as they cross the road. Despite never having seen a sign for this before, the concept of protecting frogs for a seasonal procreation journey isn’t new to me.
When I spent my year abroad in Germany, I lived in a seaside town that had built special tunnels under the road specifically for their frogs to use. These special tunnels even had skylights so the moonlight could guide the frogs on their lovestruck quest from one pond to the next in search of a mate. At the time my host mother was kind enough to tell me how much it cost to build and how many frogs it now saved, but that was many years ago and I can’t remember what they were.
This is not a strange phenomenon in many parts of the world with seasonal/ breeding migrations. When sea turtles are laying eggs, beaches are protected. When seal pups are whelping (or whatever it is called), beaches are protected. Even during certain times of the year when crabs cross the road en-mass, traffic is diverted in some places.
Germany even has “nature bridges” over the autobahns. These are bridges that are planted with grass, shrubs, trees and anything that is natural to that particular area. It is to encourage wildlife to not try and cross the autobahns and get not only themselves killed, but cause damage to vehicles, property and cause a mess that needs to be cleaned. The thought is to protect the wildlife, the property and save money on damages.
It is great that people, communities, governments even, are conscious of how our roads and encroachment into nature affects animal breeding habits. Still, it is admittedly funny to see a frog crossing sign put up in all earnestness.