The stuff nightmares are made of.

Today I’m editing a chapter of my book which is in part about the American Bullfrog, Rana catesbiana. It is our largest frog here in North America, impressive for its size (its hindlegs alone can grow up to ten inches long!), but especially for its appetite. In the words of Mary Cynthia Dickerson, author of The Frog Book, the bullfrog “is the green dragon of the pond,” and “will eat almost any moving object that it can swallow or partially swallow.” This includes birds, snakes, rodents, fish, young turtles, and even baby alligators. Opportunistic cannibals, they will also freely partake of the tadpoles and adults of their kind. You can see how these clawless, fangless, and venomless creatures are able to hunt so successfully in this excellent little video from National Geographic. It’s more than a little unsettling to think that if I suddenly shrank to four inches in height I would be eaten without a second thought if ever I were to wander about a pond in the summer. And judging by their treatment of birds, I’d go down tiny hair, tiny clothes, tiny shoes and all.

11 responses

  1. I’d never have imagined a frog would be at the top of a list of fearsome predators, but after seeing what this guy did to the tarantula, scorpion, mouse, bird… I’ve changed my mind!

    • Right?? Fearsome is exactly the right word. Part of the thing that gets to me is their apathy while they’re eating these creatures. Seems a little psychopathic, especially with their brother’s legs sticking out of their mouth!

  2. The video gives a whole new meaning to life in the pond…yikes…We used to catch frogs and bring them to the Sterling Fair for the frog jumping contest…Ignorance was bliss! Love your writing, Jenny!

    • Frog jumping contests are such a delight! I went to one a few years ago and read Mark Twain’s story of such events a few days later. It was great!

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving the lovely compliment, Claudia!

  3. Pingback: Scared of Bullfrogs? Get rich (kind of) quick! | spokes and petals

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