Saturday, 10 October 2009

A Frog and No Cats

Raining again last night. I don't mind when the rain arrives overnight and leaves the day free to observe the garden wildlife. When Bobby went out for the last patrol of his estate before bedtime I spotted a shape on the concrete path. Closer examination showed it was a frog just sitting there. It even waited patiently while I fetched a camera to take a few shots.

Common Frog

This is the UK's Common Frog easily identified by the dark coloured stripes on the hind legs. Main diet is insects which it catches with its long sticky tongue, snails, slugs and worms. During the Winter it will hibernate under mud and decaying layers of leaves at the bottom of ponds. As well as lungs it has the ability to breathe through its skin so can stay submerged for long periods during the cold months. This one was about 2 inches (5cm) big so had been around for a few years.

Cats and Birds Don't Mix

There is at least one killer cat which is more than a little nuisance around my bird feeders. To keep it off the top of my fence I have added some modern plastic anti-vandal spikes. The type with blunt points which are uncomfortable but do not pierce the skin. As well as that I needed some way to keep them from skulking behind various objects on the ground. For quite a while I have looked into the possibility of using one of the electronic cat deterrents.  Looking closely at the description of many they deter all sorts of mammals but I needed something more specific.

After quite a bit of research I spotted this - the Cat Gard - which says it does not affect other mammals or birds so I invested in one.

Cat Gard   Cat Gard

Many of the ultrasonic deterrents are battery operated, needing two 9V batteries. This one is mains operated via a transformer and comes with a generous 10m of cable. It is installed 3 to 6 feet above ground so I mounted it on the shed wall facing along the fence. As it is not 100 percent weather proof I fixed it in an old nut feeder to keep the worst of the rain and snow from the plastic case.

When it first arrived I plugged it indoors. Bobby definitely knew it was working although I could hear nothing. In fact it was too much for him and he dashed out to escape being deafened. Once installed outside he took no notice of it at all. Would the birds be affected by it? Well - within 15 minutes of putting it up a Greenfinch flew up to it and gave it the once over. About half an hour later a Blue Tit landed in the box and had a quick look for any food! All the birds have carried on feeding as normal. So far I have not seen any evidence of cats since it was installed though the instructions do say it can take a while to achieve 100 percent success.

Out of interest I used my bat detector to find out what the Cat Gard was doing and here is a short snippet of the sort of thing a cat would have to endure.

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  1. I have two electronic cat deterrents John but I still sometimes see the particular killer cat it was intended to deter! When I bought mine there didn't seem to be any which guaranteed not to interfere with other creatures and I was worried they would trouble Louis but after an initial 'look' of surprise he has never seemed bothered. I hope yours proves effective.

    Nice to see the frog. Your sound snippet didn't work for me at first, I couldn't hear anything until it dawned on me that my ad blocker was preventing the widget from working, once I turned it off all was well!

    I thought about you while watching Autumnwatch last night when they were using bat detectors so it is quite a coincidence you mention yours today, although in a different context :)

  2. Hi Jan. The instructions with this deterrent explains that some very aggressive cats will accept the noise as a challenge so I don't think anything is 100 percent cat proof but every little helps.

    The problem with free widgets is the advertising they may use. I have forgotten where I first stored audio files so had to open a new account. Yet another senior moment :(

    Ah! I hadn't realised Autumnwatch had started. Now added to the recording list. I hope Kate has calmed down. She spoils it for me as she is often interrupting and wittering on about something irrelevent.

  3. That frog is so beautifully camoflaged! I have always wanted to get a bat detector, where did you get yours from?

  4. I just played your snippet for about 2 seconds and it greatly disturbed my 2 (indoor) cats! They jumped up and were ready to run out of the room before I turned it off. Hope it does the job for you.

  5. ...interesting. You'll have to keep us posted to see if it really works!

  6. Hope that little device works for you John. It'd certainly drive me mad, if I heard it for too long lol
    So far I've been lucky with the odd cat round here. Not too much of a problem, and when I'm in with the door open, Jim races off after them when he sees them. Mind you, if they stood their ground, he'd race back in again. And my cat is so old now, she just don't bother. Too busy sleeping the days away lol

  7. Hi Matron. Here is one of the makers of bat detectors. I have the simplest / cheapest they make. There are other makers and types - with prices to match their sophistication.

    Also some general information about the different types here:

    Hope this helps. John
    Did you see / hear the long eared bats on Autumnwatch this evening?

  8. Sorry about that Wilma. The even higher ultrasonic sound it produces must be very irritating for them. There are several cats about here and just one is a born killer which has been hard to keep at bay for long.

  9. OK Kelly I'll try to remember to mention progress from time to time.

  10. It certainly is irritating, Keith, which I guess is the whole idea. Most have passive IR detectors to switch them on and off but this one stays blasting away 24/7 so it is a good job we can't hear it!

    Bobby will give a good chase if he is out there and notices one but being a 60mph couch potato that assumes he is awake long enough ;)

  11. Your little device sounds like it might just be the go, John. Here's hoping.
    If I thought it wouldn't upset our cats, I'd try it, to keep a particular neighbour's fighting cat away! It's very annoying coz our cats tend to stay in our yard. Sorry, yes I'm one of those pesky cat owners! lol. ;-)

  12. Hi Pam. It is just the one cat which is a pest. I am fairly sure it is one which has been caught on camera during the night so may well have been abandoned.


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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