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The Call Of The Frog

Text and Photos by Julian Alper

From our home in Tiberias, it is truly inspiring to watch the sun rise each morning over the lake. And indeed, we are not just inspired by the Kinneret, we're also inspired by the wonderous nature in the surrounding mountains and glorious countryside that hosts a multitude of birds, animals, and flowers.

Taking advantage of our good fortune, I recently spent considerable time watching frogs in a nearby pond and was fascinated and inspired by what I saw. After several minutes observing the frogs in the pond, I noticed that bubbles formed on each side of the face of one particular frog as it croaked. And then the bubbles quickly deflated as it stopped croaking. Some instant Wikipedia research told me that male frogs attract females by blowing such bubbles, but the frogs' bubbles are not just for display they serve a functional purpose too. If a frog were to call out, its croaks might be heard as far away as just a meter or two, but by inflating its vocal sacs (bubbles), the sound resonates and can be heard up to hundreds of meters away, thus enabling the female frogs to locate the males.

Frogs spend a lot of their efforts in remaining out of reach and out of sight of predators, which include snakes and lizards, fish and birds. Certainly, their greenish-brownish coloring is well suited to camouflaging themselves in ponds and rivers thus helping them to stay clear of danger. Isn't it somewhat surprising then, that frogs should inflate their vocal sacs and cry out to all around, revealing their location? It's a bit of a catch-22 - damned if they do, damned if they don't. Poor frogs; they have something of a dog's life. Despite the danger to the frog in its croaking, it continues to do so. It has to perform its life mission – to procreate.

To enable them to fulfil this mission while dodging attacks from predators, frogs have been blessed with exceedingly powerful rear legs that give them a fantastic jumping ability – the height and length of their jump makes Bob Beamon's look distinctly unimpressive and Fosbury's look like a complete flop. With this defense arsenal they're able to evade capture by all but their most capable predators. So maybe a croaking frog's life isn't such a dog's life after all and hopefully, with those legs, the croaking frog won't become a dog's dinner.

* See Wikipedia Vocal Sac.
** Bob Beamon's World record for an enormously long jump at the 1968 Olympics wasn't bettered for almost 23 years.
*** Dick Fosbury was an Olympic High Jumper, who won the Gold Medal in 1968. He was the initiator of the High Jump
technique known as the Fosbury Flop.

Julian Alper is an amateur photographer living in Tiberias, having made aliyah from Manchester, UK. He has a particular interest in photographing nature in Israel and blogging about what he sees. When not out and about with his camera he works as a Hi-Tech Consultant. This is his website - https://natureofisrael.blogspot.com

 

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Thursday, 25 April 2024

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