Where have all the frogs gone?
Frog populations are in serious decline all over the world. Scientists are worried and are looking for explanations for this disturbing news.
During my research, I found four main reasons for this decline:
* Destruction of frog habitats such as forests and bogs.
*Increase in UV radiation from the sun.
* Increase in Pollution.
*The French eat 80 million frogs per year!!!
In early Spring, adult frogs wake up from their long Winter sleep and start making their way to breeding pools. Some frogs can travel as far as one mile to the pond which is a long distance if all you do is hop or crawl. When the frogs reach the pond, breeding begins with the male croaking loudly to attract the female!
The eggs (frogspawn) are surrounded by jelly. One clump of frogspawn can contain up to 4,000 eggs! It floats to the surface where the sun warms it up.
This is where the increased UV radiation causes a problem, killing the spawn of certain species.
After about 10 days a tadpole wriggles out of each egg. At first the tadpole breathes and moves like a fish,using its gills and long tail. After 5 weeks, the gills disappear and the tadpole develops lungs. Then it needs to swim to the surface of the water to gulp air. The tadpole has fleshy lips with rows of teeth. By 7 weeks it also eats insects an even other tadpoles!
By eight weeks the back legs have formed and by 10/11 weeks the fromt legs have also appeared. At 12 weeks the tail dappears and the tiny froglet is ready to leave the water. It will take three years before the froglet reaches maturity and the cycle starts all over again!
What's an Amphibian?
Most amphibians start life in the water as tadpoles, but as adults they can move about on land and breathe air so they spend less time in the water.
Amphibians can breathe through their skin and are cold blooded creatures. Frogs, toads and newts are types of amphibians.
Frog's natural enemies
The natural enemies of frogs in Ireland are herons, gulls, ducks, hedgehogs, badgers, rats, stoats and foxes.
Feeding and Digesting
Frogs feed using their long tongue. The frog flicks the tongue out at high speed and snaps up its prey!
The prey is then squashed between the tongue and the eyeballs which are drawn down inside the head . The food is then digested through a simple digestive system.
Why do frogs croak?
Usually only male frogs croak. They do this during the breeding season to attract female frogs and to warn away other male frogs.
How many species of frog occur in Ireland?
Only one...........the Common Frog ( Rana temporaria in Latin)
Toads are only found in Kerry (The Natterjack Toad)
How do frogs change colour?
Frogs change their colour by expanding and contracting three layers of colour cells in the skin.
Where do frogs go in winter?
Frogs are cold blooded animals so their body temperature drops as the temperature drops. For this reason frogs have to hibernate and they do this at the bottom of ponds.
How long do frogs live?
Frogs have been known to live up to 20 years, but the average lifespan is about 12 years.
Can a frog breathe underwater indefinitely and not drown?
Frogs are equipped to breathe underwater indefinitely. However they can't feed underwater and so must come up to land in order to hunt for insects, earthworms and spiders.
Frog Conservation. -
What can we do??/?
To prevent the further decline in frog numbers,the Irish Peatland Conservation Council suggests.............
that people who live near a pond or stream shouldn't cut away or damage the grass, bushes and water vegetation as this is where the frog likes to live.
We need to be friendly to our Ozone Layer, by reducing our use of deodrants or other harmful sprays.
Report any sightings of frogs or tadpoles to the Irish Peatland Conservation Council.
Encourage the French to eat Irish Beef!!
So, all you 6th Graders in MQP!
Love to hear how your frogs are doing!
We've found a newly established organisation for tweenagers called Monoga (Young Bogs)!to help preserve this fascinating amphibian...........So off to work we go.
How do you catch a unique frog?
Unique up on him!!
Hope to hear from you soon......................................................Liam!