Kermit the Frog of Jim Henson’s Muppet fame was wrong. I know it’s hard to believe that a fun loving Muppet like Kermit could have been inaccurate but this is a sad truth. For you see, it’s not only not easy being green; but it’s not easy being any other color of frog either. Just ask the Poison Frogs they are a multitude of colors. Red & blue, Black & Yellow, Green & Black, and the list goes on.
While they are not often preyed upon by their rainforest cohabitants they still have a pretty tough life for a frog. Many of these diminutive species (most the size of a thumbnail or smaller) actually rely on Bromeliads in order to lay their eggs which are attached to trees. Some actually practice parenthood carrying the young piggy back style to avoid predators. It is known among Poison Frogs that both parents actually care for the young in the wild.
Then of course there is the Pipa Pipa or Suriname Toad which actually carries the eggs in specialized skin openings on the back until they are ready to hatch. When the young hatch they spring forth from small holes in the mothers back like kernels of popped corn. It’s been estimated that over ten percent of frog species actually practice some type of parental care.
Need more reasons? Frogs have permeable skin which means they absorb water through their skin and do not drink like a human or other animal might. This makes frogs very susceptible to toxins within the water where they reside. They are therefore known as ‘indicator species’ by biologists and environmentalists because they are effected by environmental toxins very quickly. This is why when toxins are dumped into the frogs’ environment we begin seeing frogs with strange mutations such as extra limbs. Frogs have been known to scientists for research purposes as well. One species in particular the African Clawed Frog Xenopus laevis was used in research studies for pregnancy testing of humans! These experiments led to the now ever so popular urine test that suspecting pregnant human females use.
Frogs are an imperative part of the ecosystem as they keep insects in check such as disease carrying mosquitoes not to mention they are also a food source to many other vertebrate animals. I think you can agree; it might not be easy being green; but its no picnic being a frog at all. So the next time you hear Kermit singing his favorite tune remember it not about being green. It’s all about the frog.
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