Frogs are cool – no doubt about it. It is hard to pinpoint just what it is, but there is something about them that fascinates people. Here are ten things that you might not know about frogs – cool little froggy factoids for frivolous fun. Enjoy:
10. Frogs Lived In Jurassic Park
The earliest known frog appeared during the late Jurassic period, about 190 million years ago. One scientific theory states that the oldest frogs developed jumping legs to avoid being eaten by dinosaurs. Specimens of the first known frogs have been found on Navajo Indian reservations in Arizona. Fossils of meat-eating fish and reptiles such as dinosaurs have also been found at the same site. These fossils show that the skeletal shape and body plan of the frog has remained almost unchanged over the last 190 million years. In addition, frogs had the added advantage of being small enough to be able to hop away to avoid the many predators which habitated its surroundings.
9. Frogs Can Be Really Big
The biggest kind of frog is the Goliath frog (Conraua goliath), from Cameroon in West Africa. Their bodies can reach the size of nearly 12 inches (30 cm) long, plus – in addition to the body length – their legs are also AT LEAST that long. That is a big frog. The Conraua Goliath weighs over 3 kilos, about the size of a large housecat.
Another kind of really big frog are called Cane toads, also called “marine toads” or “giant toads”, found in Australia. Adult marine toads generally range in size from 6-9 inches (15-23 centimeters), but may get larger.
8. Frogs Can Be Very Small
The smallest frog in the Southern Hemisphere is the Gold Frog, or Brazilian Psyllophryne Didactyla. Adult Gold Frogs measure grow to only 9.8 millimetres in body length (with legs drawn in). That’s about one centimeter or about 3/8 of an inch.
Equally small is the smallest frog in the Northern Hemisphere, only recently discovered (1996) in Monte Iberia, Cuba. It doesn’t have a common name yet, but its scientific name is Eleutherodactylus iberia. Also very small are poison frogs. These can measure less than half an inch (1 cm) long, even when they’re fully grown, and although they are small, they are highly lethal.
7. It Can Rain frogs
Throughout history, there have been tales of raining frogs. From stories ranging as far as the UK to USA to Japan suddenly finding themselves covered with frogs falling from the sky. It is believed that such events are caused when a wind storm passes over a pond or lake teaming with frogs, picking them up and dumping them elsewhere.
One story from the Press Democrat news services, printed in June of 1997, says:
“CULIACAN, Mexico- It rained toads in the town of Villa Angel Flores. A small tornado whirled up a cluster of toads from a local body of water Saturday night and dropped them all the town in the Pacific coast state of Sineloa. Motorists reported the amphibians dropping from the sky around 11 p.m.”
And these stories are not uncommon. In June of 2005 a Belgrade paper reported an incident where thousands of tiny frogs rained on a town in north-western Serbia. Witnesses’ accounts say that strong winds brought storm clouds over Odzaci, 120km north-west of Belgrade, but instead of rain, down came the tiny amphibians. In 1981, the people of southern Greece woke up one morning to find their entire town covered in frogs that had dropped in the night. In 2009 showers (as in, actual showers) of tadpoles and frogs fell from the skies in central Japan�s Ishikawa Prefecture, located on the Japan Sea Coast.
According to “National Geographic,” the first explanation of these strange happenings came from the French physicist Andre-Marie Ampere who hypothesized that frogs and toads roam the countryside in large numbers and when a storm hits, the winds are strong enough to pick up the amphibians and carry them elsewhere before dropping them down as the storm dies out. These creatures are pretty hardy, too. Most survive, albeit a little confused, and they are not the only ones. People have been fascinated by this phenomenon since the early Bible times with Moses’ plagues on Egypt.
6. Frogs Form An Army
- A group of fish is called a School of Fish.
- A group of geese is called a Gaggle of Geese.
- A group of sea gulls is called a Flock of Sea gulls.
- A bunch of cows and bulls is called a Herd of Cattle.
- But what do you call a group of frogs?
Answer: An ARMY of Frogs!
And what do you call a group of toads?
Answer: An KNOT of Toads!
5. Frogs Make Medicine
Scientists are finding new ways to treat sick people by studying frogs. This is yet another good reason to be concerned about the fate of our worlds frogs since every day so many frogs are threatened by environmental problems. For example, scientists found a way to make a new drug painkiller from the toxins in a frog’s skin. The frog (Epibpedobates tricolor) is found in Ecuador. Poison in its skin protects it from predators. They couldn’t use the poison itself for humans because it’s too powerful, but researchers took the frog poison (its structure) as a model for this new drug.
4. Frogs Are Better Jumpers Than Kangaroos
Frogs are one of the best leapers on the planet. Frogs can launch themselves over 20 times their own length using those big strong legs of theirs. That would be the equivalent of a person jumping over 100 feet. By comparison, a kangaroo can leap about 4 1/2 times it’s length. But as good as frogs are at jumping, there is one better – ever tried to catch a flea? There is a reason it is not easy – the average flea can jump up to 150 times its own length.
3. Frogs Ears Connect To Their Lungs
Frogs can hear using big round ears on the sides of their head called a tympanum. Tympanum means drum. The size and distance between the ears depends on the wavelength and frequency of a male frogs call. On some frogs, the ear is very hard to see.
Ever wonder how frogs that can get so LOUD manage not to hurt their own ears? Some frogs make so much noise that they can be heard for miles! How do they keep from blowing out their own eardrums?
Well, actually, frogs have special ears that are connected to their lungs. When they hear noises, not only does the eardrum vibrate, but the lung does too! Scientists think that this special pressure system is what keeps frogs from hurting themselves with their noisy calls.
2. Frogs Can Gestate In Their Stomach
One dry-region frog, the Rheoba trachus Silus, swallows its eggs and broods them in its stomach since there aren’t any ponds available. Darwin’s Frog, which lives in South America, also has odd brooding habits. The female lays about 30 eggs and then the male guards them for about 2 weeks. Then the male picks up all the survivors and carry around the developing young in their vocal pouch. The tadpoles develop in their baggy chin skin, feeding off their egg yolk. When they are tiny froglets (about half an inch) they hop out and swim away.
1. Frogs Are Cryogenic
Well, ok – not all frogs have mastered this trait.
However, one species – the common wood frog – displays a rare trait called freeze tolerance. When the mercury falls, the animal becomes, to the eye and touch, a frog- shaped ice cube. The way it does this may eventually be copied to aid human organ transplants.
“Two-thirds of their body water, or more, freezes,” explained Jack Layne, a biologist at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. “The heart stops, the breathing stops. For all practical purposes you’d assume that it was dead.”
In reality, the frog’s metabolism slows to a crawl, and its body temperature drops to between 21 and 30 degress Fahrenheit (6 and 1 degrees Celsius). The amphibian’s heart and brain cease to function. Freeze tolerance allows common wood frogs to live in harsh climates as far north as the Arctic Circle, the only frogs to do so. But they can also be found as far south in the United States as Georgia. A key to their survival is a natural antifreeze that prevents the amphibians’ cells from dehydrating excessively during the freezing process.