Assuming you truly need to hold a frog, you should do it in a way that minimizes pain, stress, disease transfer, moisture removal and chemical contamination.
(2) You probably found that frog at the mating pond and you don’t where it’s been or who it’s been amplexing…or who it’s been amplexed by…so use protection whenever possible! Be prepared with a 20 x 25 cm plastic bag — that’s a standard sandwich bag with no zip. It will keep you clean and keep the frog clean. It has the added benefit of helping you catch the frog without it slipping through your fingers. It’s way easier to catch a frog with a bag wrapped around your hand then using your bare hands. A large frog will require a larger bag. You may be able to accomplish everything you need to do without handling the frog any further…just inspect it through the plastic.
Photo of Pacific Chorus Frog (Pseudacris regilla) by Nick Gustafson
(4) Do you need to hold the frog? If so, read on. Now that the frog is in the bag, make sure it’s head is pointed towards one of the bottom corners of the bag so that it has nowhere to jump when you open the bag. Now put a powder-free lab glove on your right hand. Here’s how to carefully gain control of the frog: from the outside of the bag, use your left hand to gently extend the frog’s legs outward from its groin area, and then your right hand’s thumb and index finger to hold the frog’s two legs at the point between its knees and ankles. Once you have the frog under control you can remove it from the bag, head facing down. It is now hanging downward and should not be kicking or trying to escape because it is dangling and has nothing on which to grasp.
(4a) If it a large frog, you can just wrap your hand around the frog’s waist, head outwards, legs towards your elbow.
(7) If it’s a dry night, pour some water over the frog so it continues on its way nice and moist.
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Dr. Kerry Kriger is the Founder & Executive Director of SAVE THE FROGS!, a nonprofit organization that has held over 2,000 educational events in 57 countries to raise awareness of the world’s rapidly disappearing amphibian populations. He is also a musician who has been studying, teaching, recording and performing the classical music of northern India on bamboo flute since 1996. Dr. Kriger holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and has traveled to over 65 countries. His nonprofit efforts in western Africa led him to being inducted as Chief of Environment and Development in the remote village of Yawkrom, in the Western Region of Ghana.