Sunday, September 25, 2011

What a bunch of bull...frogs!

I went outside earlier today with Oscar and happened upon our two resident frogs - Bandit and Squirt.  Both were sitting out along the rocky edge of the pond soaking up some sun.  I quickly retrieved my camera from my desk and set out for a frog photo shoot.  

Bandit and Squirt were surprisingly cooperative today.  They usually leap into the water as soon as we get close.  Not this afternoon!  I managed to capture several good images of them.  And I was finally...finally!...able to make a positive ID on the type of frog they are.  Ladies and gentlemen...my wonderful Pineapple Ponderings readers...we have North American Bullfrogs, or Rana catesbeiana.  

As you may recall, we got Bandit and Squirt as tadpoles back in May from our local garden center.  Up until this point, they've kinda sorta looked like Green Frogs (Rana clamitans), but today I got a glimpse of their brown and white speckled throats and bellies, which I knew was not characteristic of Green Frogs.  A little research in my National Audubon Society Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians, coupled with some supporting evidence from the grand ol' Internet and I made the ID. 

Armed with this new knowledge (and speaking of being armed...a group of Bullfrogs is called an army!), I read more about the habits of Bullfrogs.  I was particularly interested in how they overwinter.  This is what I found out:
Aquatic frogs such as the leopard frog(Rana pipiens) and American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) typically hibernate underwater. A common misconception is that they spend the winter the way aquatic turtles do, dug into the mud at the bottom of a pond or stream. In fact, hibernating frogs would suffocate if they dug into the mud for an extended period of time. A hibernating turtle's metabolism slows down so drastically that it can get by on the mud's meager oxygen supply. Hibernating aquatic frogs, however, must be near oxygen-rich water and spend a good portion of the winter just lying on top of the mud or only partially buried. They may even slowly swim around from time to time.
I shared this information with Chris and said, "You know what this means, right?!?"  He said, "That we need a bubbler for the pond for the winter?"  I replied, "Exactly."  I want to give Bandit and Squirt the best chance of survival for the winter, so we'll be heading to PetCo in the next month or so to get our pump set-up for the winter. 

Here are some shots of Bandit (the bigger one on the right) and Squirt (the smaller one on the left).  Enjoy!

Squirt (L) and Bandit (R)

Bandit

Squirt

Squirt

Bandit

Squirt

Bandit

Squirt and Bandit with the waterfall in the background.

All fours frogs - Squirt and Bandit, plus our two "biker frogs" from Chris' parents.
(Side note...if they are biker frogs, does that make them "Wild Frogs?!?")

Squirt

Bandit

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