Making Waves: Stark raving torture of the coqui

It was so nice.

The silence was so pure it cleansed me down to my toes, it was like standing in a cathedral.


Staring from the window into the night I was basking in the perfect calm. After so long the terrible squeaking was gone, not a leaf was breathing or a gecko barking.

I listened to make sure it was over, the horrendous kokee, kokee, kokee! The devilish cry of the little monster, Eleuthradactylus, the tiny devil that tortures the night, the dreaded coqui frog.

God save us from this evil creature!

This tiny demon had ruined our life for the past three months but tonight some heavenly hand had reached down and erased the hateful noise.

For so long, we’d felt special being granted silence for so many years. In the midst of the coqui invasion, our neighborhood had been protected from the onslaught. While the rest of the island endured the torture, by some godly grace, we’d been passed over and given the gift of serenity.

Lower Kona Palisades had been spared from the cacophony of the creature. Silence reigned till dawn.

Until one terrible night three months ago, a loud coqui started up outside our window.

An electric jolt shot through us, the enemy had found us! We’d been invaded and feared we’d soon hear thousands of the deafening little demons torturing us all night.

Demons that no one can kill, no one can stop, like a plague of locusts in the night.

There are folk remedies, bleaches and powders, incantations. There are those who claim they can stop them, but they are charlatans. Only a powerful coqui killer knows the secret of getting rid of them. And true coqui killers are mostly a myth. I know of one who has the power to vanquish the demons and she charges dearly for the purge.

When we heard the disturbing noise we were bitter. We thought the rascally frog had been brought in by the neighbors in plants from local garden stores, unchecked for the squeaking little monsters. This is how they invade, hidden in the leaves of imported plants. Plants are their Trojan Horse.

This is another scourge of the coqui, turning neighbor against neighbor, blaming them for spreading the plague, like some blind witch hunt.

All night we heard kokee, kokee, kokee, till we were going stark raving mad. It was disrupting our lives and challenging our sanity.

And then on this blessed night the noise was miraculously gone. My soul could finally breathe.

Perhaps the coqui killer had come in the night and done away with it. I would seek her out in the morning and reward her with silver and gold, but tonight by the window I bathed in the silence, basking in heavenly peace. We could sleep at last.


Paradise had returned.

Dennis Gregory writes a bimonthly column for West Hawaii Today and welcomes your comments at