February 2012

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.