Thursday, July 26, 2007

Cannibal Frog

Yesterday I assumed the ruckus in my pond was another frog fight until I discovered our largest pond frog, "Bubba", with a pair of frog legs jutting from his mouth. According to Wikipedia, Green Frogs will "consume anything that can fit in its mouth, such as: crickets, flies, fish, crayfish, shrimp, grasshoppers, smaller frogs, tadpoles, small snakes, birds, mollusks, moths, and their own cast skin." I managed to grab my camera and get him on film just as he swallowed the feet (see below). Update August 14: Bubba was recently seen eating one of my goldfish, the tail hanging out of his mouth. This frog will eat anything that moves. Update October 2007, I've been told this one is a Bull Frog because it doesn't have ridges (see comments). If she's eating the Green Frogs, does that mean she's not a cannibal?

Green Frogs (Rana clamitans) are the classic pond frog in Shelton. Build a pond in your yard, and they will come in no time at all, adding a rather silly sort of charm to the pond. The males will puff out their yellow throats and starting singing only a few feet away from you, and they'll get into crazy frog fights. If you startle them, they yelp while making a comical leap.

Because most animals find their taste repulsive and do not eat them, the frogs are incredibly tame (my children have even managed to pet them on occasion). Dogs vomit after picking them up. Even the tadpoles taste bad. A few years ago I drained the level of my pond overnight to 6", with catastrophic consequences. By the next morning, the raccoons had reduced my goldfish and koi to nothing but a few scales. But the ground was littered with dead Green Frog tadpoles, each one having been tasted and then tossed aside.

They get so big that people often mistake them for bullfrogs. I frequently see them in our lakes, rivers, and puddles. The tadpole are also huge - several inches long, and they take over a year to mature.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Thems Good Eatin'


We've got raspberries, highbush blueberries, huckleberries on the way (all along the powerlines).
Hey, what's the deer doing there? Well, they can be tasty, too, especially with a side of onions, but I'm afraid they're too cute to harvest (unless they eat the flowers in my garden) and besides, it would be against state regulations.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Housatonic Coyotes

I received this intriguing set of photos taken by a boater on the Housatonic from Leon Sylvester Jr. The story passed on to me was that of a mother fox and her cubs hanging out by the river edge (first photo). The boater could see a coyote stalking her, and threw something in its direction to alert the fox, who immediately defended her kits from the intruder.

I suspect the "fox" may actually be another coyote. Fox are about 12 pounds, while coyote are closer to 30 lbs, so there is a big size difference.

Giant Leopard Moth

While searching a stone wall for a hidden geocache box off of Turkey Trot Trail, my son discovered the above Giant Leopard Moth, which has a wingspan of 3". Teenagers are not easily impressed by bugs, but this one was striking.

A few years ago I ran across the larvae of this species - a huge wooly caterpillar off of Dominick Trail with distinctive red spots. It was so unusual I took it home to identify it.