Considering that the Official State Reptile of New York is the snapping turtle, it’s not surprising that the question of where to award the title of Official State Amphibian should be the subject of vigorous debate in the final sessions of the Senate. By a single vote margin, the wood frog scored the honor over stiff competition from the bigmouthed salamander, the two-tongued toad and Governor Cuomo.
As usual, it was the upstate interests that carried the day. Ms. Menna’s 4th grade class of Skaneateles, NY, railroaded the bill through, arguing that the batrachian “freezes in the winter and reanimates in spring,” an ingratiating reference to the habits of our lawmakers.
Senator Bonacic-R darkly hinted at an anti-development conspiracy. “When you elevate a species in the State of New York. . . you empower the DEC with a weapon to use for a wood-frog zone. You can’t build here or you can’t do something there.” If his name sounds familiar, he’s the senator who predicted that the sky would fall down if Jenny Rivera were appointed to the Court of Appeals.
The wonder is how New York has managed to function for so long without an official amphibian. It’s no excuse that no one after fourth grade remembers exactly what an amphibian is.
Every visionary idea has its nay-sayers. Two senators from Queens sneered at the vote as “asinine” and at rana sylvatica as “extremely small” and “ugly.” Let them be exiled to the wood-frog zone for re-education in species sensitivity!