Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Dan'l Webster

In case you're wondering, the title of today's blog comes from Mark Twain's Classic book of short stories entitled "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." It was Twain's first book, and while the title story is one of the most popular, the book contained 27 of Twain's short stories.

I often wonder what the appeal of frogs is to so many people. For the most part, my experiences with them have been limited. I was never afraid of them, so the neighborhood boys couldn't terrorize me with them, although I must admit that I never found them particularly appealing either! I did have to go thru the trauma of dissecting one in biology class - not a particularly pleasant experience, especially since ours was a female and full of eggs... yech! After that, I think my next experience with them was helping some kids catching some little ones near a ballfield where my sons were playing little league... and my daughter did manage to talk me into buying her a couple African tree frogs during her "pet-crazy" phase. They were definitely not easy to take care of and unfortunately didn't live very long! (Not that we didn't try!)

Folklore around frogs runs the gamut. The Olmec tribes had a toad god of rebirth, while some ancient Asian tales portray the frog as a trickster and magician, the keeper of the secrets of immortality. The ancient Chinese saw the toad as symbolic of negative female Yin and even saw the toad in the face of the full moon. South and Central American tribes regard the frog as alchemical - capable of producing poisons and drugs, the latter of which are still used in religious rituals. Some of these pre-Columbian tribes worshipped a frog god of fertility - Ceneotl, while early Aztecs named their frog god Tlaltecuhti. Medival Europeans also recognized the poisonous nature of some of these amphibians, viewing them as evil and even deadly. Ancient Egyptians saw the frog in a favorable light, as a symbol of fertility and renewal.

The life cycle of the frog and its transformation from tadpole to its adult form, lends itself easily to the western world's varied stories of the "Frog prince". What woman does not ascribe to the old adage of having to kiss a lot of frogs before she meets her prince?? (Unless of course, you're like Miss Piggy of Muppet fame, in which case your frog is truly your prince!)

While most people use the terms "frog" and "toad" interchangeably, they do have some differences. Frogs' skin is generally smooth or slimy and they like moister environments, while toads tend to have warty, drier skin since they favor drier climates. Frogs feet are adapted for swimming and hopping, while toads stubby bodies and shorter hind legs are better suited to "walking". While both lay eggs, frogs tend to lay theirs in clusters while toads lay theirs in long chains. There are over 5000 known species of frogs and toads!

Some interesting facts about frogs and toads...
The transformation process from tadpole to adult frog is complete by the age of 12 to 16 weeks.
Some frogs' eyes have pupils that are heart shaped, triangular or even star shaped.
Not all species of frogs have tongues, even tho frogs are usually portrayed "snapping up" their food with their long tongues.
Frogs have teeth (of a sort). Toads do not!
The longest frog jump on record was a 33'5.5" leap made by a frog named Santjie at a frog derby in South Africa.
The largest known frog is the Goliath frog. They reach a size of nearly a foot (30cm) and can weigh as much as 7 lbs (3.3 kg).
The smallest known frog is the Cuban Eleutherodactylus iberia, measuring in at just 0.4 inches (10mm).
A group of frogs is known as an army. A group of toads is called a knot.
Most adult frogs and toads breathe thru their skin!
Some species of frogs have been reported to have lived 40 years, altho the average lifespan is somewhere between 4 and 15 years.
Some species of toads have been known to lay 30,000 eggs at one time!

I hope you've enjoyed learning about frogs and toads... and I hope you'll take a moment to visit
these great Etsy shops who lent their frog photos to decorate this article!
Spring - Stoopher
Rainforest Frog Pin - lizart29
Frog BooBoo Buddie Ice Cube Holder - pkoriginals
Lets Jump Into Spring Frog, Collectible - klaysweetpiggies
Frog Photo Note Card - JSELEP
Frog Coasters - Treasures4All
I Met Him at the Frog Pond-HAPPY HAIR PONYTAIL HOLDERS -FlyingButtons


Audrey said...

You found some lovely frogs!! We live on a farm and have two ponds and a creek that runs past the yard. We like to sleep with the windows open at night and get serenaded every evening by all the frogs.

Klayfriends Collectible Jewelry & Clay said...

Thank you so much for featuring both my stores in your blog and

I read your newest blog of course, and found the info about frogs really interesting..thanks so much again! laura

Pam said...

What a wonderful and informative post. My only experience with frogs was when my dad filled our aquarium with tadpoles for my daughter, who was about 2 at the time. It wasn't long before I was calling him and telling him to bring a net. Yes, they can jump out of the aquarium after they get legs. My daughter was thrilled and ran around saying, "fishy hop, fishy hop." I have to admit, looking back on it, trying to catch those things was hysterical.

Thanks for using my BooBoo Buddy as part of your article.

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