|Ξ Poem||Frog Notes||Song ♫|
a broken log of soaken oak: Many frogs, aptly named treefrogs, dwell in small pockets of water in the crotches of tree branches, clambering easily about in their arboreal homes with strong legs and enlarged sticky toepads. Some treefrogs grow flanges surrounding their faces to stopper up their holes after backing in.
soggy: With their thin moist skin, frogs rapidly dehydrate in dry air, so they rarely venture far from water. Frogs drink mainly through their skin, not through their mouths, and their entire skin is covered with mucus glands that constantly keep it moist. Some frogs have evolved to slough off a cocoon of many layers of skin to survive drought, estivating underground.
bog, moat: As an amphibian, the frog is one of the few animals able to thrive in the stagnant environments of bogs and moats. On land, frogs breathe in through their mouth and nostrils, then shut those to pump air into their lungs with their throat muscles. But underwater, they exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide directly through their thin skin, which, just like lung tissue, is supplied with a profusion of small blood vessels. In oxygen-poor water, a frog will poke its nostrils up through the surface in an inconspicuous location to breathe.
throbs his throaty call: The males of many frog species have resonating vocal sacs on the sides of their throats which they inflate to amplify their mating calls, attracting females from a broader distance.
fog: When dense fog or drizzle saturates the air with moisture and provides cover from frog-loving birds, the conditions are ideal for frogs to migrate in search of breeding sites or other waterholes. Where their migration routes lead over roadways, this behavior can lead to massacre.
throng: Many frogs are gregarious, congregating in large numbers, especially during the mating season.
polylogue: A frog chorus is a vocal lek, a beauty pageant in which males vie to out-sing each other to attract females, each frog timing and pitching its call to stand out from the crowd. Often several species will gather at the same location, their diverse voices harmonizing in a grand, sometimes deafening chorus.
goggle-eyes: In most frog species, the eyes bulge out to the sides, enabling the frog to see in nearly any directions without moving its head. This is important both for tracking their aerial prey and for evading their aerial predators, such as bats. When swallowing, the eyes retract through its skull and help push the food down its throat.
bugs, grubs, fly: Most adult frogs diet mainly on flies and other insects, but frogs also eat snails, worms, fish, other amphibians, small rodents, and even small reptiles.
gulp: Though most frogs are fitted with numerous tiny teeth in their upper jaws, they usually gulp their meals whole with nary a chance to taste them. If the fare proves unwholesome, in some species a frog can throw up its entire stomach, inside out, and scrub it clean with its hands.
hulk: Frogs cannot turn their heads, having essentially no neck, which gives them a characteristic squat, bulky look, accentuated by the lack of a tail in the adults and their habit of folding their rear legs beneath them.
bloat: When threatened or threatening, frogs will bloat themselves up with air to appear larger.
goad his friends: The males of many frogs are highly competitive, wrestling each other for choice calling spots.
tadpoles: Immature frogs of almost all species are aquatic fish-like animals complete with gills and a long vertically flat tail. As a tadpole matures, it sprouts legs, develops lungs, and resorbs its tail. Some people distinguish between tadpoles and pollywogs to refer to the young of toads or bullfrogs as opposed to those of true frogs.
toads: Toads are usually distinguishable from frogs by their rough warty skin, lack of teeth, tolerance of drier climates, short hind legs, crawling gait, and warty paratoid glands behind their eyes that secrete a burning milky poison.
asquat: Aboveground, frogs spend most of their time waiting patiently in a sartorial position, with their rear legs folded to the sides beneath them.
frog-green: Most frogs wear a topcoat of greens and browns that conceal them in their surface environment, with some species even able to change color to remain camouflaged in different surroundings. Other frogs, in contrast, advertise their poisonous skin with brilliant colors of all hues of the rainbow to warn off predators. All frogs and toads secrete toxins through their skin. In most species, these toxins are mildly irritant to people, but some are so poisonous that just holding a frog in ones bare hand will kill an adult human.
flung his tongue: The tongue of the frog is anchored in the mouth, rather than in the throat, and folded back so that it can be hurled out like a projectile. A few frog species are tongueless, and catch prey with their hands instead.
last gawk: Coated with sticky mucus, a frog's tongue can snag an insect in mid flight with the speed and effectiveness of a flypaper spitball harpoon, too quickly for human eyes to see or for a fly to react.
leaped: Frogs are champion leapers, some able to cover over 4 meters in a single bound, without a running (or even hopping) start. A frog's powerful leg muscles are attached to a rigid skeletal framework fusing oversized hipbones with a winged sacrum, forming the prominent sacral hump in the middle of its back.
loping legs: Unfolded, the legs of most frogs are longer than their bodies. In air, they usually leap too quickly to see properly, but it is often easy to see them fully extend their legs when swimming. To eyes accustomed to human proportions, they then look rather like Humpty Dumpty on stilts.
upon a frond upon the pond: Pond frogs will often squat motionlessly for hours at a time on floating leaves such as lily or lotus pads, where they are safe from shore predators and can absorb water through their bellies and the undersides of their legs while waiting in ambush for insects and other prey. Such fronds also make convenient launching pads for quick escape from their enemies.
frolic with the pollywogs: In some frog species, both or one of the parents (often the father) nurtures the young, hatching them on its back, brooding them in its stomach or vocal sacs, or herding them until they can fend for themselves. This poem was written when my younger son was on his way, evoking thoughts of nurturing and frolicking.
For more information on frogs, see the Wikipedia Frog article.
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