Although the Swiss are not, like the English, all that sentimental about animals, being more of a farming people, you may be surprised to hear of what goes on each year in early spring.
As seen on the main lakeside thoroughfare along Lake Constance as well as on many much quieter roads in our local countryside!
Literally, a frog-saving drive… although drive is not really the right word, since the object is to actually prevent drivers running over the frogs returning to their places of birth to lay their frog spawn. Since wild animals cannot be expected to have any road sense and silly humans build roads wherever they see fit, without these warnings, any number of little green amphibians would get squashed on their way home. Goodness knows how the population survives in the rest of the world, but Switzerland is always a bit different and special, and the Swiss have taken it upon themselves to save the frogs. (On exiting the stairwell from the subway to the platform in Lucerne last week, I noticed a chap scrubbing the walls with a stiff brush… and only in Kloten airport have I ever witnessed anyone washing the machine that takes your ticket at the exit/barrier… but I digress!)
In addition to the warning signs (and this one is 6 feet or more high), the most dangerous parts of the road (for the frogs) also feature little plastic fences about 8″ high pegged along either side of the roads…
Apparently, there is an American proverb that claims “You can’t tell by looking at a frog how high he will jump”, but the Swiss have obviously decided that about 8″ is the limit. I gather that this project does save thousands of frogs each year, which of course go on forth to multiply and therefore make it imperative that these protective measures are put in place year after year to make sure that Kermit does not become extinct. I know I sound flippant, but I do take the point – so many of our native species now have restricted habitats that it is important to make sure they don’t die out. Really, I’m very impressed by this initiative to save the frogs on their “amphibian wanderings”, as the frog-saving website puts it!