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FROGS AND TOADS

Frogs are tailless, chiefly aquatic amphibians of the order Salientia, family Ranidae, having a smooth, moist skin, webbed feet, and long hind legs for leaping. Toads are like frogs, but are mainly terrestrial, and have drier, rougher skin.

During the early summer, frogs' eggs can be found floating on or near the surface among plants in shallow ponds and marshy places close to shore. They are in jumbled masses of jelly-stuff. Toads' eggs are in jelly-like strings, often wrapped around plants.

Use wide-mouthed jars to scoop up the eggs. Nets would work, but they could injure the delicate eggs. Don't take many eggs, because if they are crowded, they will die. Put water from the pond where you caught the eggs, along with several small water plants from that location into the jars of eggs.

In the spring and summer, frog and toad tadpoles can be found feeding among thick plant growths in calm water. Tadpoles move quickly; thus a large jar and a quick hand are needed to scoop them with an upward motion from the water.

We used to call them "poliwogs." That is a Middle English term meaning "tadpoles." It's more fun to say "poliwogs."

A large rock that extends above the surface of the water or some other type of ramp must be available in your tadpole environment, for them to crawl on as they develop. Place screening over the top of the aquarium; hold it in place with books or rocks.

It might be necessary to change the water every few weeks and to clean out the container. Replace the water with more pond water or aged tap water. (Let tap water sit for several days so that the chlorine will evaporate.)

Tadpoles will feed on algae in the aquarium or on small bits of lettuce.

Adult frogs and toads can be caught by hand or with a net at night near plants in shallow, calm waters. They can be located by listening for their call.

If they are in the water, scoop them from underneath with a large wide-mouthed net. They can be kept temporarily in in a wet burlap sack.

Keep frogs in aquariums that have places for them to climb on dry land. Toads should be kept in a woodland terrarium. Both frogs and toads will eat live worms, roaches, cater- pillars, insects, and small aquatic life.

Observe the frog's appearance and behavior as it eats. (It's tongue is hinged at the front of its lower jaw and is flipped out quickly; its eyes retract and bulge because the food is forced down the throat by an inward movement of the roof of its mouth.

It has been recently noted that frogs are becoming extinct. They have been around for almost ever, but are now disappearing from their usual habitats. The reason, at this time, is unknown. Please don't allow your captured animals to die.

Put a frog in a large jar of water. When the frog floats at the surface, count the number of moves its throat makes in one minute to determine the rate of breathing. Now add ice to the water, one piece at a time. As the water cools, you will see the frog move to the bottom of the jar and become less active. When this happens, count the rate of throat movements again.

When nearly all motion stops, the frog is in a state of hibernation. (The heartbeat and respiration are very slow.) To avoid being frozen, frogs hibernate during the cold winter after digging beneath the soft mud on the bottom of a pond or stream. They breathe under the water by taking in small amounts of oxygen through their skin. For an additional experience with hibernation, put a different frog in a jar containing a small amount of water. Set the jar in a refrigerator (not the freezer) overnight. When the frog is removed, it can be turned onto its back and its movements observed. Keep track of the time it takes the frog to become active again.

There are some frogs who live in an area where it rains only about every five years or so, and there is no pond, lake, or stream. When it rains, they come up from their burrows in the earth, hop around a bit, eat, and mate. When the soil starts to dry, they burrow about a foot deep, make a nest, and stay there until the rain brings them up again. I think the area where they live is in Africa.

You might be interested in researching reference books to find out which other animals hibernate during winter.

 

 
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