Sunday, 19 October 2008


The house I bought a decade ago was advertised with the words "Wake up to the doves in the morning and the waves crashing on the Puna shore". Or something like that, I'm paraphrasing. The doves are pigeons by the way. At least that's what they look like. No matter, they make very soothing sounds in the morning. The waves crashing on the shore was a bonus, I loved that sound but can only hear it now when there's really high surf because the coquis have taken over.

These little buggers, and they are little (typically about an inch long) must hold world records for the amount of noise they make. You would not believe that such a small a creature could be so loud.

And annoying.

The coqui frog is not an indigenous species to Hawai`i, it got here, somehow, from Puerto Rico. It's a threat to native species because it has no natural predators here except rats and mongoose, which aren't exactly native. It's a threat to people's sanity as well. I was hoping that I lived close enough to the ocean that the salt air would deter them from infesting the area, but I was wrong.

They don't like citric acid or hydrated lime because it kills them and I've tried both in my yard (legally, I might add). It's helped but there's too much jungle surrounding me and it's now a lost cause. I can now only try and control the frogs that get so close to my house that make sleep difficult.

It's impossible to describe how loud these frogs are, but on my occasional coqui hunt I've got close enough to one of them without it realising and I'm not exaggerating by saying it hurt my eardrums. These 1-inch bastards are capable of a 90-100 decibel call from a metre away. How they don't deafen themselves mystifies me.

If you want to hear one, then have a listen to:

One noisy little bugger

or a whole bunch of them.


Keera Ann Fox said...

I saw a documentary about these frogs once. The sound produced there was far worse than what you've offered here! What do the cats make of them?

Tom said...

Hi Keera. The cats ignore them completely. I've heard the odd story of some cats being trained to catch and kill coquis, but even if they're true I think mine are a bit long in the tooth to learn new things.

Lou Minatti said...

I like that ambient noise. I could sleep through it. Very relaxing.

I'll trade invasive species with you. I'll take your frogs, and in exchange I'll send you our fire ants from South America. :-)

Hi, Keera!

Tom said...

Actually, the fire ants are already here. They're not widespread yet and I don't think I have any - I don't have any soil left for them to live in!

As for ambient noise, I don't know. The people of Puerto Rico love their coquis, hardly anyone here does. You get used to it until one of the little buggers finds their way under your deck and then that 100-decibel sound is amplified and echoed. It's no fun when they do that at 3am!

Keera Ann Fox said...

Hi, Lou! Nice to "see" you again! :-) So, do any of you want Iberian slugs? Norway desperately wants to get rid of the little Spanish pests.

Tom said...

I'd never heard of the Iberian slug, so looked it up. Oh boy. Half a foot long slugs? Thanks for the offer, but no thanks!