Now I know that frogs aren’t everyone’s idea of a cute creature – they’re not exactly cuddly I have to admit – but they are an often overlooked but very important animal, who have been around since the time of the dinosaurs.
As we know, frogs are amphibians (cold blooded critters) – living part of their lives in and part out of water. They can be found all over the world, only giving a wise swerve to the extreme artic regions. Their official family name is Anura, which is ancient Greek for tail-less, referring to their lack of rear appendage.
These guys are well suited to enjoying a swim – they have a great adaptation to help them out – the positioning of their eyes and nose at the top of their heads – this allows them to keep a watch on what’s going on when they’re otherwise submerged.
When it comes to drinking, frogs have an amazing ability to be able to absorb water through their skin! (come to think of it, I can’t remember ever seeing a frog taking a drink!)
Frogs are no vegetarians, being mainly meat eaters and they can be a welcome sight in many a garden, where they help to hoover up pesty critters such as slugs.
They’re also renowned for their singing talents – male frogs produce an amazing array of croaking calls to attract a female – a frog chorus is definitely unmissable! Once they have completed mating, the vast majority of frogs lay their eggs into water, where they grow into tadpoles before gradually developing into their adult form. One exception to this is the Darwin frog – the male keeps the eggs in his vocal sac until they become young frogs – that’s one devoted dad!
Whilst frogs can’t boast about having anything in the tail area, they make up for this in terms of leaping abilities, because the typical frog can jump up to 20 times their own height, which comes in handy if you’re trying to give a would-be predator the quick swerve!
As well as being able to bound out of trouble, frogs also have another defence mechanism – they can secrete toxic chemicals over their skin – one such famous amphibian is the aptly named poison dart frog – actually a species of frog found in South and Central America and so called due to the native people’s use of its lethal skin secretions on the darts they used to kill prey. These guys are very brightly coloured, which of course is nature’s way of warning to steer clear!
If you’re wondering, the most poisonous frog of the lot is the Golden Poison frog (what else!) These guys are one of the deadliest creatures on earth – unimaginably, one two-inch frog’s toxic secretion would be enough to kill ten humans!
Whilst the Poison Dart frogs are small but deadly, the largest frog in the world is the appropriately named Goliath frog – this sizeable individual weighs-in at around 7llbs (that’s over 3kgs) and measures up to 12 ½ inches (that’s a 1/3 of a metre!!) It won’t surprise you that these guys will munch on just about anything that comes their way, including insects, other frogs, small mammals, birds and even bats!
At the other end of the spectrum, is a relative newcomer, which was discovered as recently as 2012 in New Guinea and has been given the catchy name of Paedophryne Amauensis (!) These minute amphibians measure a mere ¼ inch (7mm) and will fit happily onto a dime coin! They snack on minute insects on the forest floor.
If you’re brave enough to peer deeper into the world of frogs, you can certainly find some oddities – take the Hairy frog (aka the Horror frog) as you’d expect with that name, it sports some rather scary looking hairs on its back – but it’s not the hairs that are the oddest thing about these guys – they have the ability to produce barbs in their feet by literally breaking their own bones – these bones then come through their skin, arming them with a gruesome form of defence – that would certainly be enough to give you nightmares!
Yep these guys are a diverse bunch – there’s even a flying frog (eg Wallace’s Flying frog) which has specially adapted flaps between its toes that allow it to glide through the air up to 15 metres! (about 50 ft).
Frogs have long enjoyed an appreciative audience with the Ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks all regarding them as a symbol of life, fertility and harmony. More recently, frogs have leapt their way into popular culture – from traditional fairy stories, where every good princess must kiss one to meet her prince (we all know that don’t we girls?!) to the lovable Kermit from the Muppets.
Hope you found this frog blog unfrogettable, once you’ve reddit! (:-D)