by Barbara Walvoord
Frogs have gotten a bad name for being the ugliest, most disgusting form that a witch could think of, to disguise a prince. And kissing a frog, it seems, is the ultimate yukky challenge for a princess.
Sharon and I found this American bullfrog by Basset Brook on the east campus. It did not swim away, but regarded us steadily with its big, beady eyes.
We did not kiss it, but I did go on the web to find out more about this creature who shares our Lathrop home.
Perhaps what disgusts a princess most is this frog’s table manners. With its huge mouth wide open, it lunges at its food –snakes, mice, insects, fish, and birds.
This frog beats even Obama for its big ears–bumps that circle its head.
Perhaps our princess is put off by the fact that bullfrog legs are as long or longer than the entire rest of its body. But, princess, you gotta admire that bullfrogs can jump 3-4 times their total body length from a standing start.
A frog is very thin-skinned, because it breathes not only through its lungs but also directly through its skin, both underwater and on land.
A bullfrog gets its name from the male’s deep call, which sounds (to us) like the mooing of a bull. Males defend their individual territories, but in nearby ponds, they croak simultaneously–a strategy that may help disguise each individual frog from predators, but not from a froggy princess. Amid the din, she’ll find her individual prince–the one with the most food in his territory. Never mind looks and table manners.
We humans can nourish our frogs by encouraging the native plants that support fish, mice, birds, and snakes; by eliminating chemicals that penetrate thin skins; and by following ecologically sensitive farming and building practices. That’s how we at Lathrop kiss our frogs.