13th November 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Tochts fae Tushie Truncherfaece

Froggy smoorikins

A voar highlight is frogs gadderin in da loch tae laeve dir spawn. For me hit’s a novelty, dey wir niver dere when I wis a young trow. Frogs hiv been in Shetland for little ower a hunder year. Dat’s why we’ve nae Shetland name for dem.

Dir metamorphosis fae tadpoles intae frogs is laek naethin idder. So I tocht an interview wi a frog wid be a decent scoop for da wirld’s ony journalist trow.

I took a peerie start tae fin a frog willin tae spaek. Dey ir naturally blate craetirs. Eftir approachin twartree, wan eventually agreed tae spill da beans on life as a frog.

Fraser Frog is tree year aald, mebbe fower, an is as filsket as can be. He herdly hed time tae stand still and he jamp fae ston tae ston as I quizzed him.

First, I axed him aboot da history o frogs in Shetland an if he kent onything aboot his ain ancestry?

“Twa hunder year ago dere wis nae frogs in Shetland. Human folk took dem in fae Sooth. Ower da nixt hunder year dey spread aa ower, tae aawye forby Skerries. My ain faimily can be traiced back tae a young doctor wha slippit frogspawn on da Wastside o Shetland in da 1950s,” said Fraser.

“Hoo come du bides sae far fae dere noo?” I hed tae ax.

“A couple o generations back a peerie lass took some frogspawn fae Bixter tae here. My grandmidder jamp oot o a bucket in her back green.”

I wis impressed by his knowledge o his faimily history.

I axed aboot da breedin season in full swing eenoo. Fraser Frog telt me aa aboot hoo he’s been hibernatin at da bottom o da loch since October. Mairch has been a very sociable mont for him. He’s met wi aa da idder frogs in da loch tae croak his very best until he fan a mate. Da female frog he fell in wi laid nearly twa thoosand eiggs. An hit ony took her twartree seconds!

“Does du hae tae look tae dy frogspawn?” I axed, tinkin aboot hoo much budder my ain bairns ir.

“Na, na, da sun does dat!” lached Fraser. “Da jeely aboot da eiggs keeps dem floatin near da surface o da waater. Dis helps da sun waarm dem an dey develop intae peerie tadpoles. Dir first maet is da jeely den dey quickly learn tae aet peerie bits o algae an plants. Bein a parent when you’re a frog is nae budder!”

“Can du mind bein a tadpole? Hit most hiv been richt different tae life as a frog?”

“Dat, dat,” agreed Fraser. “I can mind bein a peerie tadpole. I wis een for a braa start, langer dan usual. Da summer I wis born wis a poor een an my development intae a frog wis slowed doon. Come da winter I still hed my tadpole tail, although my legs wir weel under me.”

“My maist vivid memory as a tadpole wis ee day when I wis nearly glaepit by a hungry fish. Whit a gluff I got! Da idder tadpole I wis sweemin wi wisna sae lucky. In fact, dey say dat ony five oot o ivery 2000 eiggs becomes an adult frog, so A’m braaly lucky tae be here ava!”

“Du can say dat aaricht,” I lached. “Dat’s laek winnin da lottery!”

“Da lottery isna ower wi. Has du seen hoo mony frogs ir sqwashed on da rodds at dis time a year?” he said wi a mair serious tone.

I’d kept da maist important question for last an hooped hit wid lighten da mood.

“So, tell me Fraser, is dere ony truth in if you kiss da richt frog he’ll turn intae a prince?”

Fraser suddenly jamp tae grab a wirm wi his lang sticky tongue. Da poor wirm wis glaepit in a wanner.

“I widna laek tae say,” he said lickin his lips. “But if ony boannie lasses want tae gie me a kiss an see whit happens, dat’s fine wi me.”

Noo, dere’s an offer o a smoorikin you canna turn doon!

Tushie Truncherfaece xxx