Frog Call of the Week: Jeremiah the Bullfrog

Jeremiah (the American bullfrog) is our largest native frog, growing from 6 to 8 inches in length. Bullfrogs are found throughout most of North America. They like to hang out in large bodies of water like lakes, ponds, and slow-moving streams. Where bullfrogs have been introduced (for example, in the western U.S.), they have become pests because they eat anything smaller than themselves, including native frogs.

The bullfrogs call sounds like rumm….rumm…rumm….or a stuttering ru-u-u-umm…ru-u-u-umm (often written as jug-a-rum).*

I picked up a book recently called The Frog Book, written in 1906 by herpetologist Mary C. Dickerson. She wrote beautiful descriptions of the amphibians she studied. Here’s her description of the bullfrog call:

If we go rowing on river, lake, or park lagoon some moonlight night in late June [in the northeast], we are certain to hear the deep-tone call of the Bullfrog many times. Coming as it does at unexpected intervals and from unexpected directions, it seems startlingly weird in the quiet of night. For June nights are quiet. The insect orchestras are not in full swing, and the frog choruses have disbanded. The Bullfrog does not sing in chorus; the call is an isolated one. The notes are so low that we think of him as the bass viola among frogs. The call resembles, to a considerable degree, the roar of a distant bull..

Here’s a video of a bullfrog calling, created by Ravenswood Media. Enjoy!

Info from The Calls of Frogs and Toads by Lang Elliott and The Frogs and Toads of North America by Lang Elliott, Carl Gerhardt, and Carlos Davidson. Both books include CDs of frog calls.