A sneak peek into the remarkable world of the tail-less amphibians.
Some frogs blend into the green of their ponds, and live an unremarkable existence. But some are strange looking, having adapted to a special environment.
This colorful and informative book reveals a rare and close-up look at the odd beauty of some of the strangest of these creatures largely hidden from our view.
Weird Frogs features:
Available in hardcover and paperback, the book will appeal to middle school students exploring topic ideas, younger students interested in wildlife and advanced readers who enjoy picture books.
Chris Earley is the interpretive biologist at the University of Guelph Arboretum. His kids' books that encourage youngsters to "find and identify your own" have been very popular. They include Caterpillars and Dragonflies.
As a child I loved frogs. I caught them and watched them all the time. I marveled at the variation between different species: the dryness of a toad, the hugeness of a bullfrog, the toe pads on a tree frog. I can remember as a six year old seeing a toad, quick as a flash, catch and eat a tent caterpillar. I can also remember going to a fancy restaurant as an eight year old and seeing frogs' legs on the menu. Thinking it was a fun name like "buffalo wings," I ordered them. When they came to the table and I saw that they were real frogs' legs, I was horrified! I refused to eat them, telling my family that frogs were my friends.
Frogs now need as many friends as they can get. In recent decades, many frog populations have declined dramatically or disappeared altogether. Factors such as habitat loss, collecting for the pet trade, pollution, climate change and the introduction of invasive species are all contributing to the decimation of many frog species. A fungus called Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has also spread around the world and caused the extinctions of some kinds of frogs. Research is underway to save the remaining species of frogs that are under threat but much remains to be done.
There are almost 6,000 species of frogs and toads and more are being discovered every year. They share the amphibian group with caecilians (which are legless and wormlike) and salamanders. The terms "frog" and "toad" are not taxonomic divisions: this means, for example, that not all toads are closely related. The word "toad" is often given to the ones that are dry-skinned and more terrestrial, whereas "frog" is for the slimy and more aquatic members of the group. But even this rough definition has many exceptions and so most are called frogs when talking about the group as a whole.
The more you know about the natural world around you, the better you will understand its intricacies and how our actions affect everything else that shares this world with us. And what better way to get started learning about the natural world than studying these frogs? They are so weird! Here is a group of animals that include jumpers, climbers, burrowers and even gliders. Some are poisonous, some are masters of camouflage and most are incredible vocalists. Their wide grins and large eyes attract our attention and they are one of the most recognizable animal groups on the planet. As you can see, I never really outgrew my frog stage. I hope this book encourages a life long frog stage for you, too.