Monday, August 6, 2007

Killer Frog!

Bullfrogs are the bruisers of the amphibian world. A whopper can tape out at eight inches. Lotta frog leg to an animal like that. Their voracious appetites and gaping maw are a bad combo for anything smaller that wanders near. They'll eat big dragonflies, large butterflies, crayfish, small snakes and little turtles, mice, salamanders, and other frogs. Even birds. I've heard of a few reports of bullfrogs snapping up Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and several species of songbirds are recorded as sliding down the gullet of big frogs.

Well, today Gina Buckey sent along a photo that her friend Mark Eller took in a Clintonville - suburb of Columbus - backyard. Apparently this guy hangs out in a small ornamental pond and patiently awaits opportunity.
Mark finally caught him in action - a juvenile Northern Cardinal fast in the jaws of the killer bullfrog. And it is a male; they have larger tympanums - eardrums - than do females. He reports that this particular frog makes a habitat of catching birds, and they've seen several other bird species meet their demise this way.
Maybe they should have shown this photo to all those uninformed elementary school kids that wanted to make this the state's official amphibian a few years back. Me, I'll vote for tiger salamander.


Ben Warner said...

Haha, yes, well it is an impressive catch. Pretty amazing really, I've seen pics of them taking Goldfinches and Ducklings but A cardinal is pretty decent. I think we should make the state amphibian an endangered species personally, to get out some positive press for them, maybe help them out. But yeah there is the argument that it should be a common critter that people all know and love. Personnaly I'd vote for Hellbender, but since not many other people would, I'd make it my other favorites, Green Salamander or Maybe even a Spadefoot Toad (still haven't seen one in OH yet). Thanks for sharing this pic Jim

Julie Zickefoose said...

Just found this on a Google image search and was delighted to see it was from your blog. Size of the bird in relation tot he frog, the color of its wing feathers and yellow in bill both suggest a young house sparrow to me. Cardinal bill would be more conical and black with touches of orange-red if it were a juvenile.
This is the photo I wish I had of Fergus in my backyard pond!!