A while back, I was cruising a rural lane enjoying the sights when an enormous lump on the road caught my eye. As I moved nearer, wondering what the unidentified mass might be - bear scat, horse apple, osage-orange fruit?! - the pile transformed into a bullfrog. Possibly the largest bullfrog that I've ever seen, and if I as yet have nothing more to point to in my life, I can honestly say that I've seen a lot of bullfrogs.
A note on the bullfrog's name: some authorities have made the case that this species and others should be placed in the much harder to pronounce genus Lithobates (Rana - Ray-nah; Lithobates - Lih-tho-bat-ees). The jury seems out on this proposal so I stick with the long-used name and the one that will be employed in all of your field guides. Whatever the case, the scientific epithet catesbeiana refers to the brilliant and productive English naturalist Mark Catesby (1692-1749). Among his many talents, Catesby was a skilled artist. Check out his rendering of his namesake bullfrog HERE.
Anyway, it turns out I had no worries about the bullfrog fleeing. The thing was not even in the slightest intimidated of me, or my 3,200 lb. car. It just sat there, regarding me with a Yoda-like inscrutability. It's likely that, if the frog had any thoughts at all regarding me, it was lament that I was probably too large to enwrap with its long viscous tongue, by which I could then be pulled into its expandable mouth and swallowed whole.
Oh, I called her a "her". The way to tell bullfrog sexes apart is by the "ear", which is more appropriately referred to as the tympanic membrane. This is that drumskinlike round organ just behind the eye. In girls, the typanic membrane is about the same size as the eye; in males it is considerably larger.
Such a massive predatory amphibian can catch prey we don't normally think of as meeting their demise at the hands (tongues?) of frogs. Big bullfrogs are known to snap up songbirds, small turtles, snakes, and nearly anything else that it is capable of overpowering and stuffing down its gullet. In a fabulous case of forever lamenting NOT having the camera close at hand, I once was walking a marsh's edge and observed numerous massive bullfrogs sitting in the shallows. One looked a bit odd, and after glassing it with the binocs, I saw a somewhat smaller frog, its head still jutting from its captor's mouth.
Bullfrogs create one of the classic summertime sounds, their loud growling roars echoing from ponds and wetlands. And I'm sure that the female starring in this blog has produced her share of little green monsters.