How far can a frog jump?

This morning at the library I found a recently published book called FROGS: The Animal Answer Guide by herpetologists Mike Dorcas and Whit Gibbons (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011). The book is structured in the form of questions and answers, helping readers gain insight into amphibians and raising awareness about the importance of frogs and toads in our natural world.

FROGS: The Animal Answer Guide by Mike Dorcas and Whit Gibbons

Here are some questions posed in the book:

Do frogs sleep?

What color are a frog’s eyes?

How do some frogs stick to walls?

Why should people care for frogs?

What roles do frogs play in native cultures?

Do frogs have teeth?

The answers are easy to read and non-technical. While the book wasn’t shelved in the children’s room, it would be fine for kids ages 10 and up.

So here’s one question from the book:

How far can a frog jump?

Many frogs can jump at least 30 times their body length, and some smaller species of tree frogs can jump 50 times their length. This is the human equivalent of jumping the length of a football field without a running start. Some frogs in the genus Rhacophorus, flying or gliding frogs of Asia, can go even longer distances. These frogs have webbed toes that they use as parachutes to slow their fall and glide from one tree to the next, or to the ground. Jumping helps frogs avoid predators; the skeletons of some species are modified to absorb the shock when they land. Not all frogs are long jumpers. The narrowmouth toads of the southeast and or the Mexican burrowing toad can only hop a few inches.


If Frogs Could Fly

I’ve just returned from vacation in Massachusetts, where I went whale watching off the coast with my family. On land, we also did some frog watching! My husband snapped a picture of a handsome frog in a little pond in the woods before it hopped off the lily pad. (Picture soon to come.)

Lots of frogs stories have come to my attention in just a few days, including a story about newly discovered flying frogs. The World Wildlife Fund released a report on Monday compiling recent discoveries in the Himalayas. Over 350 species have been discovered, including the world’s smallest deer and a flying frog, making the area a “treasure trove,” and one of the world’s most biological rich regions. This is an environmentally fragile area, however, that is vulnerable to climate change and development.

Tariq Aziz, the leader of the World Wildlife Fund’s Living Himalayas Initiative, a conservation program that covers India, Nepal and Bhutan, has called on these countries to develop a conservation plan for governments to give local communities more authority to manage the forests, grasslands and wetlands.

Below is a photo of the amazing flying amphibian. It glides through the air, using its long, webbed feet:

Flying Frog or Rhacophorus suffry, in Assam, India. Photo copyright Totul Bortamuli, Nepal (World Wide Fund for Nature)

Flying Frog or Rhacophorus suffry, in Assam, India. Photo copyright Totul Bortamuli (World Wide Fund for Nature)