Animals

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Frog Calls - Advertising for Love & Territory

Each species has its own sounds and reasons for calling

When you hear frogs calling, it’s not just for their amusement or simply because they can. It may be a distress signal or it may be a male warning others away from his territory. Some females of certain species also call out with certain sounds. The range of calls includes those made by males when they’re ready to find a mate.

Croaks, whistles, groans and even barking are all part of the calling vocabulary. Each species has its own specific litany that makes identification easy - at least for experts. With their well-developed vocal chords, it appears frogs have plenty to say about a variety of things.

Darwin’s Frogs - Male Mouth Brooders

Dads Take Over Tadpole Rearing

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In an unusual turn, two Darwin’s frog species are noted for their parenting capabilities. At least, the males are when it comes to pre-nursery details. While they’re on the Vulnerable list due to loss of habitat, the father frogs are doing all they can to keep their progeny safe.

These leafy-looking amphibians are found along streams in the forests of Argentina and Chile. In addition to their perfectly camouflaged shape, they also will play dead when threatened. While on the hunt for prey, which includes small insects, they’re always in danger of larger predators, namely reptiles and rodents. Naturally, it was their namesake - Charles Darwin - who first identified them during one of his voyages.

Frogs Get a Bad Rap

In Early Times, They Weren’t Always Adored

While the Frog Blog is all about frog love, our favorite amphib isn’t always at the center of glowing attention. Think warts (toads) or the line about having to “kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.” In early times, some thought they were the evilest of creatures with ties to witches and Paganism. Toads also were lumped into this demonic category.

Frog predicts wet winter

While everyone knows about Punxsutawney Phil, who every Groundhog day comes out and predicts an early spring or more winter, the other coast gets its information from a prognosticating...excuse me, frognosticating... amphibian.

 

The Washington town of Snohomish uses a bullfrog named Snohomish Slew to decide if they are going to get another six weeks of traditional winter...soggy and foggy...or the more springlike gray skies and breezy. It's Washington folks, not Palm Springs.

 

The frog is brought out from his home at Just Frogs Toads Too Amphibian Centers and experts in frog dialect decipher the ribbets into something resembling a prediction. Last year, apparently, Slew was much more vocal, but this year the frog clammed up, so the prediction is unclear.

Red-Eyed Tree Frogs - Jewels of the Rain Forest

"As pets, I wouldn’t call them low-maintenance, although some suppliers state differently."

Red-eyed tree frogs are among my favorites in the amphibian world. Probably because of their brilliant colors, but because they’re tiny and so darn cute. Just look at that face! If you plan to keep them as pets, though, you should be a night owl, as it’s the wee hours of the morning when they’re most active. Otherwise, during the day, you’ll have to hunt for them. Amazingly those bright green bodies are perfect camouflage for the undersides of leaves.

Mossy Frog

This Creature Got Creative with Camo

Before you look down and inspect that mossy rock, you might want to think twice. It may be alive. Actually, you probably won’t run into the Mossy Frog as it’s native to Vietnam. As with many other amphibian species, it’s also endangered.

This fairly small frog is partially aquatic and a tree-dweller. A member of the Rhacophoridae family, it falls into a group also known as “bush” frogs. Some of them fly. But our featured Mossy frog is just that: its skin is a bumpy, lumpy mass of black and green that provides the perfect camouflage from predators.

Hula Painted Frog - Back from Beyond Extinction

First Frog Sighting Since the 1950s

Just this past November, a sighting of the Hula Painted Frog made big news. With good reason to believe this species had become extinct, the lone female literally jumped into view. Also known as Israel Painted Frogs, this species once thrived in and around the marshes of Lake Hula.

The story behind the Hula frog sighting is a fascinating one that involves decades of events, both good and bad. By the mid-1950s, malaria was an issue that Israeli officials hoped to resolve by draining the lake. In the process, however, the ecosystem took a real hit and the imbalance led to many species heading toward the brink of extinction. While it may have seemed to be a wise move for officials, conservationists knew otherwise: it was the frogs in the area that consumed malaria-bearing mosquitoes.

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