Ribbit Pimps

Frogwatch helps track mating amphibians

There are watchers among us. They creep around in bogs and bayous in search of randy frogs, otherwise known as -- here it comes -- horny toads. Yes, there are frogwatchers among us, people who do their part for science while being serenaded by amphibian mating calls in the crisp night air. Frogwatch was founded by the U.S. Geological Survey in 1999. The National Wildlife Federation hopped on board shortly thereafter. "We're really looking to get people outside, get them working in their local environment and really connected with their environment," says Frogwatch coordinator Amy Goodstine. "And then in turn, they're contributing to this large national effort just by going out and doing these surveys.

"In the springtime, male frogs and toads will call or sing to attract mates to a wetland," she says. "And so you can learn -- just like people learn birds by their songs -- you can actually learn the frogs by their calls. A lot of people are really sort of intrigued by that."

One of these people is Joe Fish, who lives in southwest Houston. "They come out at night in the spring and summer months when the temperature stays consistently warm," he says. That's right, they only come out at night, when the moon is high and the air is ripe for hopping -- and love. For information on how to sign up for Frogwatch, visit www.frogwatch.org. Free. -- Keith Plocek

Clean Speed

SAT 5/29

If you're participating in the Texas Shootout Drag Bike Series, make sure to leave that shirt with the coupling alligators on it at home -- only family- oriented attire is permitted at Houston Raceway Park. This tells you a little something about the kind of people who practice this sport (as if the whole racing at 170 mph thing didn't tell you enough). Drag bike racers are a breed apart, the kind of people for whom space travel would be boring. They hop on their bikes and try to warp the space-time continuum over a quarter-mile. Sure, safety is a priority, but there's always the question: "What if?" Hey, at least they're wearing helmets -- without breasts or dirty words on them, of course. 1 p.m. Saturday, May 29. 2525 FM 565 South. For information, call 281-324-2724 or visit www.txshootout.com. $10. -- Eric Norvell

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