Today I chose to start the day letting myself guided by the rather funny quote stating that when waking up in the morning, the first thing that one should do is to “…eat a frog. Nothing worse can happen to you all day.” Therefore I started my day figuratively eating a frog and since I did this I said to myself that I could equally well go on and give it a kiss too.
This time I surrendered myself to the words stating that “You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince”. It is true these words could be applied to women and men as well since apparently each and everyone of us has had by now his or her own frog kiss hoping that everything will turn out to be just a fairy tale with princes and queens and kings if lucky. So, it could thus be said that we have all had our share of frog kisses. It could have been only in dreams or in fairy tells or even in real life if any there happened to be any resemblance whatsoever between the gentleman in front of you and a frog.
Regardless if you kiss them or not, frogs have been always but always portrayed as being ugly creatures and this is actually how many of us envisage them as well. You can either hate them or love them, or as some would say there comes to be even a third possibility, you can eat them. An army of them certainly makes the difference in sound as well as in looks or appearance as some would prefer to say.
I felt “froggy” today and decided to make my own leap inside the kingdom of the interesting, yet somehow repulsive and disgusting to many, frogs. Yet, no matter how repulsive they may look to one, everyone knows by now the story of the Frog Prince, a story which comes to be quite simple in itself and involves a princess and a not so kissable frog. The story tells us that the frog badly needed a kiss and therefore decided to haunt a princess asking for that kiss. Of course, as you can all imagine the princess is at first rather disgusted by the idea of doing this kissing part, but being tormented by remorse she kisses the poor frog. As it often happens in stories the frog transforms into a handsome prince and the story ends in a big wedding and a long, happy life.
As for the long, happy lives of frogs it could be stated that they happen to be quite old. I state this having in mind the information according to which frogs have populated this planet for just about 190 million years. In fact there were numerous theories stating that their strong legs which by the way they use to hop away from one place to another, performing their rather spectacular leaps, have in fact been developed so as to help them escape the glutton dinosaurs which awaited them greedily around the corner. It was also stated that this is why nature has somehow played with poison in their case, just to help them escape the culinary fury of dinosaur predators as well as of other predators which could not hold themselves from craving for their fleshy legs and their entire bodies in fact. They must have known that frogs make just an excellent snack, don’t you think so?
Some may say that one cannot dine only on frogs since they happen to be quite tiny. At least this is how many of us envisage them, namely tiny and green sitting peacefully on a lily pad and feeding on insects that bug them. Yet, the actual world of frogs comes to contradict our thoughts and tell us that in fact when it comes to sizes in frogs, these ones can vary from small ones to bigger ones. Thus it should be clear for everyone that frogs can range from “less than half an inch in length, to about a foot in length.” If it was for you to be asked to describe a frog, how would you choose to describe it? For most of us they do look rather horrible, yet there are some who though they find them disgusting in flesh and blood, they happen to consider their legs quite appetizing when served on a plate. Going back to the description of frogs, it could be stated that they happen to be amphibians laying bare a rather zaftig body, some extruding, protuberant eyes and some meshed digits as some would happen to find them. Besides these traits, are there any peculiar traits as well in their looks? Sure there are, otherwise people would not thing of them as some disgusting creatures and we would certainly not be able to talk about such a thing as a fear of frogs, a fear otherwise known under the name of Ranidaphobia.
And if by now it is clear to everyone that when mentioning frogs there happen to be some rather peculiar physical traits as well then we should better try and mention these ones as well. Yet I guess that according to the person who decides to take a deep look into the world of frogs, these peculiar traits may vary. To some it may look rather strange that frogs have no tail, to others the rather too long hind legs may look rather weird, to others the permeable skin as well as their leaping abilities may attract their attention – it all depends on whether or not you hate them or love them. No matter the case being taken off in all directions of the globe they obviously come to tell one that one would better like them or ignore them, as preferred. Evidences come to tell us that they have been scattered across various habitats, dwelling in a vast area. And if happened to be curious in their interests in matters of “home” then you’d better be told that in most cases there is talk about an almost permanent shuttling between water and land. Therefore, it could be said that with all that leaping around and changing water for land and land for water, a frog could never get bored. Yet, probably they are the only ones holding this secret…or better said the answer to whether or not they wish to have been able to do other things as well…like read a book, watch a movies, eat some popcorns or go on a date (yet I guess they do this one quite frequently).
And since I haven’t had a parade in a long time I could as well ask them kindly to walk in front of you too. This way you could have a close look at their ears, eyes and whatever else attracts your attention. And since I mentioned the ears I could as well share to you the fact that these ears are not common ones but special ones since they happen to be connected to their lungs. This means that whenever they hear noises their lung vibrates along with their eardrum. This must be quite uncomfortable for them, if we were to think about the slightest chance of a surprise party being thrown in their honor…a noisy party too…But on the other side of the coin there is the noise they make while being busy with their constant croaking, so they are loud in themselves…In fact rumor has it that as only males are to be defined by loudness, female frogs being rather silent, males sort of try to impress their mates only, advertising their vocal skills. It is as if in the middle of the swamp a man ingeniously had the idea of bringing a radio station and let the male frog perform. Of course this performance does not consist only in croaks which come to be rather plane by now but also in grunts, clucks, trills, rings, chirps, whistles, growls and even snores. It could thus be stated that each species of frogs can feel free to choose its own radio frequency and let its mate hear to its thrilling performance. We could equally well state that there is a certain competition between the frogs dwelling on a pond or in any other habitat. However female frogs prove to be quite faithful to their males as they seem to only resonate to the calls of those from their own species only.
And just to soften a little bit all that croaking coming from a frog I shall as well tell you a rather captivating detail, namely the one which states that “frogs have regional accents”. I have to admit I haven’t recognized any of these accents so far, yet I shall persevere in these matters and tell you what I come to discover. Yet, as science comes to tell us “the rare Northern pool frog (Rana lessonae), a native of the fens, has its own unique Norfolk-accented croak.”
And if their “voice” always listens to them and never fails them then the skin as well comes to be what most would call a super skin. And unlike us who use to only wear it proudly frogs use it to drink and breathe through it too. They probably tell to themselves that all the insect eating fuss comes to be just enough for them and that as such they do not need to bother themselves with the drinking part as well. As such they always have their skin with them and they make it “drink” the needed moisture in their name. Apparently the skin also serves their oxygen needs too because moisture comes to be translated in their case in more oxygen. What comes to be rather disgusting about frogs is their sliminess, yet in their case it is precisely this one that frogs badly need. And water too! All that water jumping provides them the moisture they practically crave for.
The rather disgusting part comes to many when finding out that frogs have such habits as that of shedding their skin on a regular basis, just to keep it in good health. As evidences come to prove it, this habit may take place on a weekly basis and sometimes as often as every day. Whenever you happen to see a frog tossing and turning around you should be told that there are no fleas there but just a rather keen wish to get rid of the by now old skin. And since they prove to be quite perseverant in their tossing and turning, they do manage to finally pull the skin off and they do it as if it was a sweater and as if they needed to get rid of it the climate being rather hot and otherwise unbearable. The rather gross part or yummy (it all depends on the tastes one has) comes when getting rid of this by now unbearable sweater, because the frog eats it. Quite yummy, don’t you think so? Wouldn’t you try this with your own skin from time to time?
And while I wait for your answer I could as well tell you something about the rather protruding eyes of a frog. Speaking about eyes I would amaze you with my knowledge and tell you that these eyes can display various colors such as silver, green, brown and even gold. As for the pupils, these ones in their frog world can be either heart shaped, horizontal and even round shaped. Would you be surprised to see a frog with triangular shaped eyes or with star-shaped eyes? Well, you shouldn’t be surprised at all because to them they come to be rather customary, common eyes.
The rather awkward thing about these eyes comes when discovering that they simply have the possibility to bug them out just to make sure that they could see in all directions. So, even though they may sometimes or most of the times appear to stare blankly, they may be just tricking you into believing this since they can see it all. And the more, it looks like they sometimes possess a third eye as well or at least something that resembles to one. It is in fact nothing else but a patch placed on the top of their heads. Contrary to what some may believe is not there for aesthetic reasons but in order to aid the frog in navigation. I have to admit I happened to find this information rather funny and at first I thought about the third eye mothers in law are supposed to have, seeing every step their daughters in law take.
Yet, the eye part is not over yet in their case. Amazingly enough frogs have been endowed by Mother Nature with a third eyelid which comes to protect their eyes while being underwater and keeping them moist when being on land. The rather captivating detail is to be found in the fact that despite their protuberant eyes, frogs can only see moving things and this why poor them may at times end up starving to death with the prey next to them.
As for their color, frogs are said to be either green to better match into the landscape or they may be displaying earthy or brown tones. And just in case you happen to see a striped or bright colored frog you should be told that you are in fact facing a poisonous one since as most voices come to tell us this seems to be its way of letting one know “I’m poisonous.” Yet, some may just trick you into believing this just to defend themselves from any possible predator awaiting for them behind the corner.
Another anatomical detail related to frogs and which may come as a surprise to many are their teeth. Yes, frogs have teeth! Yet, these teeth are nothing like ours but instead they happen to be most commonly cone-shaped and very small. Where are these teeth positioned? I have to admit that I never, but never opened the mouth of a frog to check out this aspect so I am just going to tell you from the books that these teeth can be “found on the upper jaw and at the roof of the mouth.” Some may logically wonder why do frogs need these teeth since it is well known by now that they have the habit of swallowing their prey whole. Apparently they use these teeth to hold their prey only. And just because the kissing part is much brought into discussion when it comes to frogs, one should know that there are slight chances of a French kiss there, a kiss involving the tongue too. Though I guess to most of you this information may seem rather gross and yuck, only some frogs have been endowed by Mother Nature with rather sticky tongues which they use only to catch insects or kiss them as some may say, a kiss of death, a “froggish” death. Yet, there are some frogs out there which do not have tongues at all. Rumor has it that one of these frogs is the so called African dwarf frog.
The rather captivating list of facts regarding frogs does not end here though since there are more facts worth being known about the otherwise slimy marsh croaking amphibians carrying the name of frogs.
Rumor has it that frogs were in fact the first “land animals with vocal cords”, animals which have been singing for a long time now. In fact it could be said that they work like some natural megaphones, never ceasing to annoy or impress one with their loudness. Do all frogs sound the same? No, they don’t. It is actually said that each and every species of frog has its own concert in nature, a concert with no tickets it’s true yet nevertheless a concert. What helps them in this performance is a small sac which has been placed by Nature inside their throats. It is in fact this sac that makes the air vibrate as they let this one slowly get out.
The dating game as some would call in the case of frogs comes to be a nevertheless interesting and captivating one. If in the case of males and females the dating game may start with a dinner invitation, in the case of frogs this invitation may be a rather noisy one…as if just meant to make sure that the suitable mate will be there for them to mate and lay their eggs. It all ends in a fertilizing hug that the male performs from behind. Not at all romantic, except for the “concert part”, even though I guess that part may as well be considered by some as being too noisy.
Noisy or not, people have found a way to keep them silent…namely by transforming their legs into dinner, a quite exquisite dinner too as the French would say. Even though the French discovered this yummy dish only later on in history, it is said that frogs’ legs were in fact a rather common food for the people living in the southern part of China in the first century AD. The Aztecs seemed to have included these legs into their meals as well. So did the Catholic monks later in the 12 century, seeking to keep themselves in a good shape with what they labeled as being fish. Therefore, it could be stated that frogs have by now become history in the kitchen. Though I never had the curiosity to taste the legs of a frog served on a nice plate at dinner I did hear people talking that they taste like chicken.
Do you happen to have frogs in your throat? Hope not…at least not the way Medieval physicians used to do it since it is said that they literally used to treat a cough with the secretions coming from a frog. As such what better way was there if not by placing the very frog into the mouth of the sick person and leaving it there until the doctor decided to remove it? I have to say that while coming across this information I felt rather relived to belong to this era and not to those times from this point of view at least…
No matter how disgusting this may sound, I even managed to read somewhere that “scientists and doctors around the world are learning to use “frog juice” to cure human diseases.” As you all probably know by now, frogs host some rather powerful chemicals in their skin. At times, these chemicals have been deemed by many as being rather magic, yet nowadays scientists struggle to deem the beneficent side of them all.
Rumor has it that in fact these chemicals came to be used either as painkillers or just to cure sores. It is even said that “People from an Indian tribe in Peru, South America, rub frog chemicals into their skin before they go hunting.” Rumor has it that it is this chemical that makes them feel better and energizes them. I never tried this on myself and probably I never will so I cannot tell you how it feels to do this.
Envisaged by some as being really ugly and disgusting, by others as being an excellent dish or a source of miraculous “juices” and chemicals meant to cure one of various ailments, frogs have been across the history envisaged as either magical creatures or evil ones. There have been numerous myths and stories wrapped around their name. To the Egyptians for example, frogs came to be a symbol of fertility. Women in those times used to believe that all they needed to do in order to become blessed by fertility was to just wear some amulets depicting frogs. I do not intend to mock at these practices yet I guess they could have worn the real frog hanged by their neck and fertility would have postponed showing its face.
Interesting enough, it is even said that North American Indians and Australian aborigines as well used to associate the croaking of frogs with rain. I could even make a joke about this and say that if I was asked to believe in this I’d say that it should almost always rain in the vicinity of the many ponds and marshes that host an almost huge number of crocking frogs.
And since I am here to talk about things such as animals in this case that come to be connected with environment, I shall now touch the subject of frogs from a more environmentalist side. As I found it mentioned by someone, frogs can be considered some sort of a “belle weather for the environment.” They have been created in such a way that they can tell us humans whether or not a certain habitat or ecosystem is or not healthy. The population of frogs in a given area can tell us just this because “they are more susceptible to changes in environment than most animals.” Spending most of their life in the water or on the soil hibernating or leaping around, feeding on insects, they do possess their own intricate sensitivity to whatever is there that surrounds them. It could thus be said that much like canaries in the coal mines, frogs can warn us of the environmental dangers that await us.
And just to end this pilgrimage into the world of environmentalist frogs I shall now quote Hilaire Bloc and the poem entitled “The Frog”: “Be kind and tender to the Frog, / And do not call him names, / As “Slimy skin”, or “Polly-wog”, / Or likewise “Ugly James”, / Or “Gap-a-grin”, or “Toad-gone-wrong”, / Or “Billy bandy-knees”: / The Frog is justly sensitive / To epithets like these. / No animal will more repay / A treatment kind and fair; / At least so lonely people say / Who keep a frog (and, by the way, They are extremely rare).”11