Wilton: Frogs, toads and more get their moment in the social media spotlight

WILTON — No one can be sure if he was ready for it, but Chubbs the African bullfrog got his closeup on a live Facebook video presentation Thursday, April 16, from Woodcock Nature Center.

It was one of a series of live events the nature center is offering to its followers while its buildings are closed and visitors can’t get up close to the animals in person.

The presentation on Thursday was All Things … with Allegra. Each week, Allegra Jacobs, the nature center’s animal care coordinator, introduces a different group of animals in the Woodcock collection and answers questions. This week she discussed frogs — hence the appearance of Chubbs, probably Woodcock’s most popular amphibian.

“Everybody knows him, everybody loves him,” Jacobs said holding up the frog that is about the size of a dinner plate.

Ironically, she said, “they are also called pixie frogs although they look nothing like pixies.”

Jacobs went on to describe some of Chubbs’ attributes including the fact that these frogs have a mucous coating they shed in the same way a snake sheds its skin.

“The coating shields their delicate body and skin from toxins,” she explained, “since they don’t have as much of a concrete shield like human skin.”

Even though they live mostly on land, she said “it’s always extremely important that you provide your amphibians plenty of water.”

The African bullfrog, she added, “is one of the few species in the world that if they are not morbidly obese you are doing something wrong.” They make good pets “because they are docile and don’t do much” mostly sitting and waiting for a meal, like a cricket, to pass by.

She also introduced a gray tree frog that sounds like a cell phone ringing.

“If it’s warm and has rained all day, you will hear these guys all over the place,” she said. “It’s incredible how far their sound carries.”

Next Thursday at 4 p.m., Jacobs will talk about toads — the difference between frogs and toads and some of the myths around toads.

Other programs include Ms. Jen’s Cabinet of Curiosities on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. This is when educator Jennifer Bradshaw reads a book and shows off some of her nature finds in the form of artifacts and specimens she’s collected.

During Backyard Nature with Mr. Sam, educator Sam Nunes shows viewers around his own backyard. Most recently he’s introduced his flock of chickens and explained how to compost successfully. This program is on Wednesdays at 10 a.m.

For those who’ve missed one, past programs may be viewed on Woodcock’s Facebook page.

The nature center’s YouTube channel also has non-recurring videos including tours of the buildings, the bird enclosures and more. They may be accessed at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCk0DpKa03I3J1WgLvS2SyoA.

Home activities for all ages may be viewed at https://www.woodcocknaturecenter.org/nature-activities.

All the digital content is free.

“Our goal for all of this digital content is to keep our families engaged with nature and with our educators,” Woodcock executive director Lenore Eggleston Herbst said. “Our trails have been packed with visitors and these fun educational videos can supplement experiences on the trails, be a part of digital learning for families homeschooling or simply be a source of fun and education for those quarantined at home.

“We are proud to continue to be a source of environmental education, recreation and calm during this extraordinary time.”