In the summer of 2004, wildlife biologist Rich Mason received a phone call from a distraught friend because dozens of frogs were dying in the family’s swimming pool. They had tried saving the frogs with their debris net, but still many died. Rich talked with other friends who had pools and they were having the same experience. Not only were frogs dying in their pools, but friends also found mice, baby birds, moles, squirrels, bats, chipmunks, opossums, turtles, toads, and salamanders.
Just as it’s dangerous for a toddler to be near a pool unattended, with the animals, whether they were intentionally trying to get into the water or they fell in, too many were finding it impossible to get out.
When frogs, chipmunks, salamanders, or other animals enter a pool, they instinctually swim towards the pool wall to escape. According to Rich, the animals will circle around the edge of the pool trying to find a way out. Inevitably, they will overexert themselves trying to get out. This can cause them to drown or get sucked into the pool skimmer basket. And for frogs, toads, and salamanders – the chlorine in the pool can be deadly if they remain in the pool for too long because they have very permeable skin and thus the toxic chlorine can enter their bloodstream.
Finding a Solution to Save Animals from Pools
As a wildlife biologist, Rich was troubled by this and set out to find a solution. Other products were on the market, but they had too many shortcomings. So, Rich gathered materials, including foam, fabric, and mesh, plus a sewing machine, and he began to iterate on a design for a device that would help animals get out of a swimming pool safely. The ultimate design would enable any small animal to get on to an easy-access safety ledge and then have a bridge to safely get out of the pool.
When Rich finally came up with a working prototype, he tested it out. As a scientist, he wanted to ensure with a high degree of certainty that the device would be effective. So, he set up a funnel trap on top of the device that would temporarily capture the animals that used the device to escape the pool.
Over a period of 23 days, the early prototype of what would become the FrogLog helped save 47 American toads and three green frogs. Unfortunately, two dead American toads were found in the pool skimmer basket. Yet based on these results, Rich’s test showed the device to be 94% effective at allowing trapped amphibians to climb out of the swimming pool.
Here’s a video of frogs using the FrogLog:
Rich tested the FrogLog in other swimming pools. One user said she had not found any dead frogs or other small animals since she installed it in her pool earlier that summer. Before using the FrogLog, about six frogs would die in her pool every week. She also said that far fewer crickets were found in her pool. Another user noted that the combination of having the FrogLog installed and turning the electric pool skimmer off at night and helped to save more animals.
Here’s a video of ducklings using the FrogLog:
These are the types of animals who have used the FrogLog:
Frogs, toads, salamanders, bees, chipmunks, bats, small rabbits, squirrels, ducklings, birds, mice, small hedgehogs, lizards, snakes, small turtles, and geckos.
Rich’s mission with the FrogLog was to save as many small animals as possible while helping pool owners enjoy their pools to the fullest.