Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Real Star of the Day

This big fellow has occupied the same spot in a ditch on the FRC campus for over a week.  Thought he was a goner yesterday, but I guess he was just hiding out from the cold wind.  During a sunny spell this afternoon he was sitting in the accustomed spot almost entirely out of the water.  And not shy.  I got my camera within a foot and even pulled a few blades of grass out of the way and he didn't move.
There's a smaller one residing a couple of feet away that usually dives under when I approach.  Might be a female; I haven't been able to tell.  On the males, the tympanum (ear drum) is larger than the eye.
Most field guides still call this species Rana catesbeiana, but a few taxonomists think it should be in the genus Lithobates.  When I was in college, I had a large Florida Bullfrog for a pet.  He used to sit on a damp towel in a cardboard box turned sideways.  One side was open, but he'd never come out except for food.  Occasionally, my brother and I practiced our putting with one of those little aluminum practice holes.  On more than one occasion, our Bullfrog raced out of his box and swallowed the golf ball.  Quite a feat to witness.  He stuffed it into his mouth with both hands.  Then, the swallowing motion included squeezing his eyes shut so they were flat with the top of his head.  This resulted in lumps pressing through the roof of his mouth and forcing the ball further down the throat.  It was actually quite easy to hold him up by the legs and gently squeeze the ball out!  I don't suppose the frog enjoyed this, but I was young then and found lots of strange things funny.

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