The coqui frog is only about an inch or two long. But its mating call is so loud — and so irritating — that some Californians have called the police after mistaking it for a car alarm.
Reports of the frogs, which are native to Puerto Rico, have been cropping up in the state over the last several years, causing concern among scientists. A recent article in Scientific American urged authorities to eradicate the animals “immediately.” (In Hawaii, where the frogs have gained a firm foothold, they are considered such a nuisance that their presence has to be disclosed when a house is sold.)
Coqui frogs UP CLOSE and LOUD! nikosnature Uploaded on Jan 16, 2012 29. sec.
A calling male Coqui frog (Eleutherodactylus coqui) in the wild.
Andrew Hughan, a spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said on Tuesday that the department was “aware of the potential for the coqui to become a problem.” Members of the public could help limit the frog’s spread, he added, by reporting any sightings, and by purchasing native, drought-tolerant plants for their yards.
Not everyone is so averse to the frogs. In a 2001 interview with The Times, Kenneth McClintock, then the minority leader of the Puerto Rican Senate, expressed appreciation for their calls.
“Obviously, it’s something that requires getting used to,” he said. “But after some time, it becomes music to your ears.”