We keep a large rain barrel down in the woodland garden.While it does collect rainwater, without a downspout only a small amount of water goes in the barrel. Rather, we fill the 65 gallon barrel with a garden hose, and the barrel then serves as a handy water reservoir. A small attached hose and a spigot on the side allow for easy filling of watering cans, which I keep nearby. This is much easier than hauling water all the way from the house to the woodland garden.
Yesterday I planned to check the level of the water in the barrel, to see if it needed to be refilled. I lifted the top off and got a surprise:
An American tree frog ( Hila Cinera) was resting on the metal grate at the top of the barrel, which is designed to keep debris out of the barrel. The frog did not seem too startled, so I took a few photos before carefully replacing the lid.
Then I began to worry about him. Maybe he was trapped. Maybe he could not find his way back out through the round opening in the lid. I was concerned that he would perish if I did not get him out. I decided to tell Lou about the frog and ask his opinion.
"Oh, he's fine," Lou assured me. "He's been in there all summer. Sometimes I see him when I am filling the barrel, and sometimes I don't, so he knows how to come and go."
American tree frogs like to live in ponds, streams and other bodies of water, so apparently this one has decided to live inside our rain barrel. Without a better option on our property, the rain barrel has become his favorite retreat. The container's lid offers him good protection from predators, and he must enjoy the moist environment. I am sure there are plenty of small insects inside the barrel for him to consume. The thought of him down there gobbling up mosquitos makes me very happy.
Look at this photo:
Do you see the frog's tongue? Look on the left side of his mouth. Here is a close-up:
This was a very lucky shot. A tree frogs uses its long tongue to catch its prey. An unfortunate insect doesn't have a chance against this sticky adhesive strip of pure muscle. The frog catches its prey and pulls it into its mouth within 15/100 of a second!
I admit my tree frog has sneaky eyes. Nevertheless, I think the creature is cute; but then I am not a mosquito!
You may also enjoy my previous post New Options for Watering.