Frog is the common name for a species of amphibian that also includes toads. A very common question is “what’s the difference between frogs and toads?”, the answer: none, except for the fact that toads lack the powerful legs that frogs have. “Where can frogs and toads be found?”, one might ask. They live in all parts of the world, except for Antarctica, but are mostly found in tropical areas. Frogs are small animals with smooth moist skin, and big eyes that can see in almost any direction. Most species have webbed feet and powerful legs making them good jumpers, and excellent swimmers. A frogs tongue is attached to the front of its mouth instead of the rear, and most frogs are very vocal, especially the male frogs. As a frog grows, it goes through many changes. Starting out as a tadpole, and morphing into a frog. Most frogs lay their eggs in water. Others will lay their eggs somewhere safe, then carry them to water where they hatch into tadpoles. At this stage they have gills, no legs, and a tail. As they mature, their gills and tail disappear, and they develop lungs and legs. This period of tadpole life can be divided into three stages. The first stage, called “premetamorphosis,” lasts about 50 days (Patent 54).

The second stage, in which the hind legs grow, is called “prometamorphosis,” and lasts about 21 days. When the legs are about as long as the body, the third stage, which is called “metamorphic climax,” and takes place very rapidly, begins. During this last stage, which lasts about a week, many great changes occur. They lungs complete their development, and the gills disappear. The skin gets thicker, nostrils form, and the tail is completely resorbed. Most frogs prefer moist regions, and many kinds live in the water. Because frogs absorb oxygen in water through their skin, they can stay underwater for long periods of time. A frogs body temperature depends on its surroundings, and during cold weather, frogs dig burrows in mud and hibernate. During hibernation, the frog needs little oxygen and no more food than is already in its tissues. During intense heat, a frog might estivate, or in other words, lie in a state of torpor during the heat, after burying themselves in sand and clay.  Frogs are carnivores. They eat just about anything smaller than then that moves. A frog thinks like this: If it’s smaller than itself and moves, eat it. If it’s the same size, mate, or attempt to mate (this gets some frogs in lots of trouble). If it’s bigger than itself, run. Their diet may include insects, worms, spiders, or even centipedes. Aquatic frogs sometimes eat other frogs, tadpoles, and small fish. Large frogs can eat can eat stuff as big as mice and snakes. Sometimes a frog eats something too big to swallow all at once, and will leave it sticking out of its mouth ingesting it gradually or even choking and regurgitating it. So virtually, the size of a frog’s dinner is determined by the size of its mouth. If a frog eats something poisonous or bad for them, they can throw up their entire stomach and wipe it with their right front leg. Frogs help out humans in many ways. Toads are used worldwide as pest control in gardens and on farms. One toad alone can consume thousands of insects. Frogs have been used as food for centuries. Efforts have been made to harvest frogs, but most frogs eaten today are taken from their natural habitat. People in South America, the South Pacific, Philippine Islands, and parts of Africa savor frogs, and consider them a delicacy. The Chinese and French are lovers of frog’s legs. One of the reasons frogs legs are so expensive is the great demand for frogs in scientific and medical laboratories. Because their skeletal, muscular, digestive, nervous, and other systems are similar to those of higher animals, frogs are very important in these in these fields of research.

One large and nearly worldwide family of frogs are the true frogs, many species combined that are well known (Encarta True Frogs). The Bullfrog is one of the largest true frogs in North America (Barker 150). It weighs up to 1.2 pounds and has a total length of 15 inches. One of the most common North American species is the leopard frog (Barker 154), which is easily recognized by the numerous black, often light-edged spots on the back and legs. Most true frogs stay close to ponds and streams, but the North American wood frog (Stebbins 135), a small redish-brown species with mask-like black bands on the head, wander far away from the water. The green frog is another common species in North America and despite their name, some green frogs are brown. Two well-known true frogs of Europe are the common European frog, which resembles the wood frog, and the edible frog, a popular food in Europe. The African Giant Frog, the largest of all frogs, which grows as long as 26 inches and weighs as much as 10 pounds, is also a true frog. The smallest frog is probably the Psyllophyne Didactyla from Brazil which is about 9.8 mm as an adult.  The frogs and other amphibians of North America, and those of other continents too, are important in the way all wild things are important. They are also a living resource that needs protection and greater understanding to appreciate its true worth.

Today there is a strong effort by all forms of government to set aside areas that furnish the sort of environments required by many forms of wildlife, including frogs. Private organizations and individuals too have established many special areas mostly free from conditions that disturb natural habitats. People are finally realizing that, hey, frogs aren’t such bad guys and maybe we should keep them around.

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