American Bullfrogs Sing A Deep Chorus Over the Open Marsh
by Fabian Perez, age 14
There are more than 4,000 different species of frogs. One of the more common frogs is the American bullfrog.
This species got its name because the male bullfrog’s deep call sounds like a bull mooing. The American bullfrog’s scientific name is Rana catesbeiana.
Bullfrogs go a long way during their lifespan. They start as unusualy large tadpoles, up to six inches. Then they sprout tails and legs. In about two to four years, they leave the water as fully-formed bullfrogs. They grow to about eight inches in length and up to three pounds in weight.
Bullfrogs have an interesting relationship with snakes. Snakes and bullfrogs are eachother’s predators and prey. They also eat mice, fish, all kinds of insects and other small creatures. Bullfrogs hunt during the night, waiting patiently until they spot their target. Then they leap at their prey with their mouths wide open. But just like any other animal, they themselves have many predators. Birds and fish are among some of these hunters in search of bullfrogs.
Bullfrogs like warm weather. When it gets cold, they dig a hole and hibernate. Their habitats consist of freshwater ponds, marshes and lakes. Males defend their territory against other males. Therefore on a hot summer night, a startling loud “Jug-a-rum” sound heard across a marshy field just might be a bullfrog dramatically defending his turf.
But all of these amphibians are important to us because they are subjects of study. Many high schoolers dissect them in biology class. They also help our ecosystem stay balanced. And for some people, frogs could even be a meal.
[Source: National Geographic Kids]