The most fantastic thing about writing this blog is I learned something I never, ever knew while conducting the research for this particular article. Did you know some frogs actually have teeth? I was very surprised by that fact.
Having grown up in the country, my little brother, Ricky, and I often found ourselves tasked with providing our own entertainment. There were no local parks to walk to. All in all, there just were not many fun activities for us to participate in. We had to create things to do. One of our favorite games we invented was one we called “Who can catch the most frogs?”
Armed with nothing more than empty five gallon buckets, we simply walked all around the yard to see who could capture the most frogs and toads. When we felt we had gathered as many frogs as we could, we would take the buckets to the middle of the sidewalk and gently dump the frogs out to see who had caught the most. It was very hard trying to count the little critters as they were jumping all around, but it sure was fun trying. We usually ended up laughing so hard that we wound up having to call it a tie.
Had I known these cute little, seemingly harmless, creatures could have bitten me if they had chosen to do so, I doubt that I would have been so carefree in my handling of them. Apparently, fortunately for me and Ricky, they must seldom ever bite humans. I have read that they mostly only use their teeth to catch prey with.
Frogs can, however, give humans Salmonella. There are also some poisonous frogs, such as Poison Dart Frogs and Pickerel Frogs (which look almost identical to toads), that have toxins they emit through their skin which can be fatal to humans. So, as with most animals, it is best to simply observe them in their natural setting without handling them.
With the exotic pet trade industry running rampant here in the USA, one can never quite be certain what sort of frog may be jumping about in their yard. It could be an abandoned or escaped exotic, and possibly toxic, frog that was one of your neighbors’ pets. It’s sort of like poison ivy. It is just best to “let it be”.
I have to admit, though, prior to writing this article, I have been guilty of picking up any frog or toad that I have come into contact with, simply because they are so daggoned cute. It’s going to be a hard habit to break.
I just simply adore amphibians. I don’t understand how anybody could not. I think it is because they have a mouth that always looks as though they are smiling. Cunningly deceptive cuteness? Perhaps.
Salamanders also have the same sort of mouths. I wonder if they have teeth, as well. I reckon I shall find that out if I ever get around to writing my blog about the Kappa. Yet, I digress…now, enough of my random scattered thoughts and on to today’s blog post. Dun! Dun! Dun!!!
The Loveland Frogmen is perhaps one of the cutest cryptid stories I have ever come across. I really like this legend because it gives credence to my belief that most legends are indeed based on fact. The human mind, when confronted with an unfamiliar sight, will often try to come up with a logical explanation for the sighting.
Our brains like to try to associate things we are familiar with to new things we may happen to encounter. For example, if I were to see an Okapi running loose in my backyard, had I never heard of or seen an Okapi, I would most likely think it was a combination of three different animals that I am very familiar with; the zebra, the giraffe, and the deer. As I would start sharing the details of my encounter with my friends, the legend of a “monster” (perhaps named the Zebgirdeer???) would most likely soon be born.
Cases of mistaken identity are quite often a logical explanation for many “monster” sightings. I believe that is probably the case with this story. Yet, anything is possible. I will simply share the story with you and let you form your own opinion.
In May of 1955, a respected and reliable businessman in Loveland, Ohio (located about 3 and a half hours Southeast of me) while driving, reported seeing three very odd creatures off to the side of the road at around three o’clock in the morning.
The man reportedly pulled over and watched the “monsters” for about three to four minutes. He described them as being three to four feet tall, frog-like in appearance, with leathery skin, webbed hands and feet, and wrinkles where there should have been hair on their very froggish looking heads. He also reported one of them appeared to have some sort of wand with sparks flying out the end of it.
I have a (perhaps outlandish, who’s to say?) theory about the wand. My first instinct, having only read this much of the story, was that the alleged “frogmen” were perhaps escaped pet OOP (out of place) lizards. The “wand” the man saw, in my opinion, could have actually been the lizard’s long tongue, with the “sparks” being fireflies the little fellow was catching with its tongue.
The man had probably never heard of exotic pet lizards. This was, after all, long before the “information age”. The internet had not been invented, and large lizards are not native to Ohio. It seems perfectly logical that this man would have compared the creatures he saw with something which is more than plentiful in this area of the world, frogs.
There were a few other very reliable sightings of very similar animals reported in March of 1972. All the sightings were reported by police officers.
On March 3, 1972, at around one o’clock in the morning, a policeman on Riverside Road saw what he thought was a dog run in front of his car. He slammed on his brakes to avoid hitting the animal. He said it was then that he noticed this creature was no dog. He reported it stood up on two legs and ran over the guardrail and into the river. He said it looked like a frog, but was much taller. He described the animal as being three to four feet tall, very frog-like in appearance, and weighing an estimated 50 to 75 pounds. Another officer went to investigate the sight later that day and reported that there were scratches on the guardrail.
A couple of weeks later, officer Mark Matthews saw what he thought was a dead animal laying in the road. Hoping to prevent an accident, the officer got out of his car to move the carcass to the side of the road. He reported that the creature then lurched forward towards him. He shot at it and watched as the strange beast then stepped over the guardrail and managed to escape. Officer Matthew’s description of the frogman varied from the others only in the fact that he stated the creature had a tail. He explained that he believed the animal was a pet lizard that had somehow been separated from its owner.
Hey, that’s what I thought, too. LOL. I need to study lizard behavior more in depth, though, to form a better opinion. What I wonder is why the animals seemed to be so drawn to the guardrails? And, why climb over (reportedly twice), rather than duck under the rail? I also have to wonder why all the sightings took place at night. Aren’t cold blooded reptiles largely diurnal? Also, March is typically a very cold month here in Indiana, as well as Ohio. With the exception of these small details, everything else I’ve read so far seems to point to the “Frogmen” being lizards.
I am not aware of any other sightings, except for one rumor that either; a man saw a frogman riding a bicycle, or a man riding a bicycle saw a frogman. It’s very unclear which actually the case was. The details of that sighting are rather sketchy, confusing, and unreliable, and perhaps better left unmentioned.
There are several reptiles which are very popular household pets that could account for these sightings. The Savannah Monitor lizard is native to Africa. These little fellows can grow as large as three and a half to five feet long. Chameleons, Bearded Dragons, and Geckos are also very popular pets these days, as well.
Komodo Dragon Monitor lizards are much larger animals that live in the Indonesian islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gill Motang, and Padar. This is not a likely suspect due to the fact that these lizards are classified as being a vulnerable to endangered species. It is illegal to own them as pets.
Komodo Dragons are absolutely awesome animals. Komodos can grow to be ten feet long, weighing as much as 150 pounds. Go go Godzilla!!! Lol.
On a serious note, though, they have been known to attack people, as well. They are rather shy in nature and prefer to avoid contact with humans. However, there are occasionally a few rogue animals that lose their fear of humans. People have been killed by these lizards.
Speaking of Godzilla, I know the size of the next creature I am mentioning definitely rules this one out as a suspect for the frogmen. Megalania looks just like a Komodo Dragon, only twice as large. However, Megalania is thought to have gone extinct over 50,000 years ago. This dinosaur was, according to varied scientific estimates, anywhere from 15 to 23 feet long, weighing anywhere from 750 to 1370 pounds. This creature used to roam freely in Southern Australia. According to a handful of residents, there is a possibility that it may still exist. I will discuss that possibility in an upcoming blog post. For now, I should probably just stick to the frog thing.
There could also be one other likely explanation. The frogmen could have been one species of frog that is known to exist. The Goliath Frog is native to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. This amazing amphibian can grow to a length of twelve and a half inches from nose to bum, or three feet if the legs are stretched out. It can weigh as much as almost eight pounds when fully grown. However, these frogs do not have tails.
Goliath frogs are an endangered species. I should hope that pet shop owners would not be selling them. It seems as though anything goes, as far as the exotic pet trade industry is concerned, though.
I feel so sorry for exotic animals that are sold as pets, especially the reptiles that are sold to people who live in areas with cold weather.
Many well-meaning people, not knowing the potential hazards associated with owning exotic animals, often buy these critters as pets. Occasionally, the animals manage to escape. Or, worse yet, the animal either bites someone in the household or makes the owner sick. Rather than kill the animal, the owners typically drive the animals out to a wooded area and “set them free”.
Bad idea. Why? Because the animal will, in all likelihood, freeze to death. If you don’t believe me, just do an internet search for “OOP gators in Indiana”. I must warn you, though, do be prepared to look at some rather sad and graphic images of frozen alligators.
There is also an issue with escaped or abandoned exotic pets becoming invasive species, such as boa constrictors, pythons, and Tegu lizards that are now actually breeding and successfully reproducing in the wild in warmer climates, such as Florida.
There is one very positive thing that has resulted from the legend of the Loveland Frogmen. It is so refreshing when people embrace their local monster legends.
Being too frightened of any creature is never good. Fear often leads to hatred, and can result in similar situations as are evidenced in the end scene of “Frankenstein’s Monster”. I mean, after all, the monster never asked to be created or put into the situation he was in. He did not deserve the tragic fate which befell him.
The residents of Loveland, Ohio have NOT formed posses and lynch mobs that march down the street seeking out giant frog people to bludgeon or burn. No. No, indeed they have not resorted to such barbaric behavior.
Instead, they started hosting an annual triathlon called “the Loveland Frogman Race”. This annual event is held around mid-September. It consists of a five mile canoe/kayak race, an eight mile bike race, and a five k running race. I am not much of a health and fitness enthusiast, but I did check out the website for the race. It seems like a great event for people who do like to participate in such rigorous physical activities. They also offer really cute souvenir T-shirts (with a Frogman logo) for a very reasonable price.
I know frogs are cute, but please do not pick them up. Also, please think twice before owning an exotic animal as a pet. Live and let live.
As always, thanks for reading. You know, I think I have an empty five gallon bucket in the barn. NO! NO! MUST…NOT…PICK…UP…FROGS!!! UGH!!! This is proving to be most difficult for me.
This blog is dedicated, in loving memory, to my uncle, Mr. Kermite “Frog” Hall.
*Sources of Information*