Your Feel-Good Amphibian Rescue Story for 2021

African Clawed Frog

We saved the frogs!

Specifically, we rehomed three frogs, about 18 years old. They'd been an elderly woman's beloved pets…until she sadly passed away and had no one to look after them. In October, RARN members got them safely to a new home at a California zoo.

But the saga of RARN's happy-ending amphibian rescue actually begins decades ago….

We humans are strange beings. Sometimes we think other creatures on the planet are simply there for our use. So we use them. And sometimes that (ab)use comes back to bite us in the….

African Clawed FrogAfrican Clawed FrogConsider, if you will, the African Clawed Frog. A species that, in the 1930s, was discovered as an efficient way (though not to the frogs!) to determine human pregnancy. After other, better methods were found, the frogs morphed into animals found in many a pet store. But along the way, many of these creatures--both discards from research and escaped or abandoned pets--found their way into the broader ecosystem of the US.

And they wreaked havoc.

These frogs, as cute as they are, are voracious eaters and can survive in a number of otherwise inhospitable habitats. They can devastate (and have already devastated) multiple native populations of animals. And they can live a long time—25 to 30 years! Thus they are now considered an invasive species, illegal to trade or keep without strict permits. Very illegal, even to rehome….

This past summer, RARN got a call from a wonderful woman named Patti, caretaker of a woman who had kept three strange, yellow-colored (albino, to be precise) frogs. The woman had passed and no one wanted to take the frogs. Could RARN help? We could. But the caretaker wasn't sure what kind of frogs they were.

She soon found out…

Once RARN knew that it was taboo African Clawed frogs we were supposed to rehouse, we came up with a plan. We worked closely with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to make sure the transfer to the zoo offering to take them (the small but charming Charles Paddock Zoo in Atascadero) was achieved correctly. It was all done under a time crunch as well, as the woman's family was about to clear out her home. And the froggies had to go somewhere.

The bottom line? We did it. And it was worth it. The winsome, red-eyed frogs got to live, in a safe and healthy environment where they could do no damage to other wildlife.

Thanks to Patti, the officer at F & Wildlife, and our tireless staff, we at RARN have a wondrous true story to boost us into 2022!

RARN Wishes A Happy, Healthy New Year to All!