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Residents report finding unusual large brown droppings about an inch long, and the diameter of a Sharpie, on their decks most every morning.

“Large brown droppings are the product of large toad frogs,” wrote Paul Westberry, to the Coconuttele, the Isles of Capri newsletter, in response to the many questions residents had about the recent nuisance that has plagued them this summer. Westberry is a native of Southwest Florida and is affiliated with Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.

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Some residents thought the droppings could be raccoon or rodent excrement. The droppings are different from that of the geckos and anoles that most are accustomed to seeing.

The droppings are unwanted, and residents are forced to sweep or wash them away daily. Many of the residents have expressed a desire for it to end soon.

These tell-tale treasures left behind each night just might turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Frogs, toads, geckos and anoles are our natural pesky insect control squads. They eat ants, mosquitos, flies, grasshoppers, spiders, maggots, small crickets and a host of other insects that tend to be a bother to us.

Frogs and toads are both amphibians, according to Wikipedia. All Toads are frogs, but not all frogs are toads.

Toads only live on the ground, while Frogs can live on the ground and in trees. With what some locals are calling “our summer monsoon,” many have noticed more frogs and toads croaking than usual, hence the increase in excrement left on patios and pool decks.

Some say they love to get up before daybreak just to hear their favorite symphony – an overture of the croaking frogs. The holding ponds of run-off water and right-of-way swales required by Collier County for development have become home to literally hundreds of croakers on Capri. For this, residents who understand what a tremendous service these little critters provide, the sound they make is music to their ears -- in spite of the treasures they leave behind.

Geckos and anoles are reptiles, according to Wikipedia. The anole (anolis carolinenis) is often misidentified as a chameleon, a brown lizard or a gecko. If these little insect grabbers are present, it is a blessing. They are beneficial to both lawns and gardens. They feed on a wide variety of small insects such as crickets, cockroaches, moths, grubs, beetles, flies and grasshoppers. Geckos and anoles swallow their food whole. When startled, anoles will sometimes lose their tails. A new one will grow back, but it will look deformed as it will lack bone and be a grayish brown color.

When the male anole is observed opening and closing a large red dewlap, it is primarily to defend its territory or to attract a female.

The message is clear. Be glad to have brown droppings to wash or sweep away from your patio or pool deck each day. These droppings are indicators that your property is under surveillance and is being protected from many unwanted pests naturally.

Contact Ann Hall at ahall7911@coconuttele.net.

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