Anna's Animal Facts: Frogs (by Cousin Anna, Age 12)

Did You Know? You can tell if a frog is male or female by the size of its eardrums.

If a frog’s eardrums are bigger than its eyes, then it’s a male. If the eardrums are the same size or smaller than the frog’s eyes, then it’s a female.  A frog’s eardrums are the round discs just behind its eyes.

Here I'm holding a frog that I caught and named Goliath. You can tell this frog is male because its ear drums are bigger than its eyes.

Here I'm holding a frog that I caught and named Goliath. You can tell this frog is male because its ear drums are bigger than its eyes.

Did you ever wonder what frogs eat? I was surprised to find out that they aren’t vegetarians. Frogs eat insects, snails, spiders, small fish, worms, tadpoles, and believe it or not, other frogs as well. Despite being little carnivorous cannibals, frogs don’t have teeth! They swallow their food whole. Although these little creatures sound fierce, they are pretty low down on the food chain, and are regularly consumed by birds, including Blue Herons, hawks, and egrets, as well as aquatic turtles, snakes, racoons, bears, foxes, fish, and otters. Even some people enjoy them as a delicacy (yuck!).

How do I catch a frog?  I don’t use a net because if you miss the frog you can hurt it with the edge of the net.  Frogs can get tangled up easily in nets, and it probably hurts the frogs when they are rubbing up against the netting.   I prefer to use my hands.  One technique is to come up from behind and grab the frog with my hand.  But when I use this technique the frog often slips away. So, instead, I usually use two hands and cup them on top of the frog, then scoop it up. Be careful not to squeeze or drop the frog. It is not a toy.

After you catch a frog, don’t throw it back into the water. This could hurt the frog or even kill it.  When you want to let your frog go, gently set it down by the water, or submerge your hand and let the frog swim out of your hand.  After touching a frog you should wash your hands.  Frogs can have salmonella on their skin and salmonella can make humans sick.

Becoming an excellent frog catcher takes practice.  They are slippery little guys, so don’t give up if you miss them on your first few tries.  Remember, practice makes perfect.