Thursday, May 17, 2012

Frog Or Toad?

Spring Peeper
The News-Leader gave the lowly frogs and toads good press on Tuesday, a full page story full of interesting facts provided by Jeff Brigler of MDC.  It has a particularly succinct description of the differences between frogs and toads.

I have never been able to find a spring peeper.  This is frustrating as their sound seems to come from every pond or damp spot on a spring evening.  The location of their eyes on the top of their head means they are very hard to sneak up on.  This is similar to the "eyes in the back of their head" reported in mothers and 5th grade teachers.

I had never thought about the fact that they produce sounds like a harmonica player, with air going both in and out over their vocal cords.  They are even able to make sounds under water as the air moves back and forth while their mouth is closed.
"A male toad or frog produces its call by moving air rapidly back and forth over its vocal cords. When calling, the animal closes its mouth and nasal openings. Then it forces air from its lungs into the mouth cavity then back into the lungs, each time passing over the vocal cords."
Click on the "more" under the "Frog and Toad Facts" to learn about the differences between them.  Although it doesn't mention the Ozark legend of "fine as frog hair," it describes frog's tiny teeth on both jaws which are lacking on toads.

"What Warts?"
There is a health warning, something that no modern story is without.  "Be sure to wash your hands after handling a frog or toad. Although its skin secretions will not harm your skin, if any gets in your eyes, it will be extremely painful."  There is no mention of the reassuring fact that handling toads won't give you warts as your grandma insisted.  In this world of constant health threats, I find this very comforting.

1 comment:

  1. I miss Spring Peepers! What a huge sound comes from them-and they are so small-a "chorus frog." We used to listen to them back in Calif. They got so loud my neighbor wore earplugs. We don't have them here in the desert. Will never get used to not hearing the frogs. Happy Spring-Summer.