Frogs and Toads

Southern Toad
Southern Toad

Why are frogs and toads important to us?  We use them for study purposes. They provide compounds for use in analgesics, antibiotics, stimulants for heart attack victims, treatments for diseases including depression, stroke, seizures, Alzheimer’s, and cancer. They are one of themain links in many ecosystem food chains i.e. they eat insects, tadpoles eat algae  and they in turn are food source for birds and fish.  Additionally, some view them as the “canary in the coal mine”  because they might be warning us of unsafe environmental conditions that could eventually impact our health. Their thin skins help them drink and breathe, but also makes them susceptible to environmental contaminants, particularly agricultural, industrial, and pharmaceutical chemicals.

 Most frogs and toads secrete toxins as a chemical defense. These toxins come from the insects which they eat, although a couple of species are capable of producing their own toxins. The toxins are secreted from glands behind the eyes and warts on the skin. You have probably heard that frogs or toads will give you warts. This is not true. The best advice is do not pick them up but if you do, then be sure to wash your hands to avoid any unpleasant surprise should you stick a finger with toxin on it in your mouth.
Frog populations have been declining significantly since the 1950s. No one knows exactly why. However some of the factors that are  attributed to the reduced populations are: loss of habitat, water pollutants, acid rain, non-native predators such as voracious game fish, fungal diseases, and depletion of the ozone layer. More than a third of the 6000+ species are believed to be threatened.
Forsyth County is in the process of adding a frog monitoring program to the the existing stream water quality monitoring program that currently is in operation. The frog program as it stands is a work in progress that requires monitoring and listening stations to be installed in different locations around the county.
The following link has a link to Frogs and Toads of Georgia as well as to other informative sites: Frogs, Toads and more.
Some interesting frog and toad facts.
One gram of the toxin produced by the skin of the golden poison dart frog could kill 100,000 people.
A frog completely sheds its skin about once a week.
When frogs hibernate their bones sort of grow a layer, like a tree does. When you look inside a frog’s bone you will
be able to see rings and tell how old the frog is by counting the rings.
A group of frogs is called an army.
If the ears are as big as the eyes, then the frog is a boy.
If the ears are smaller than the frog’s eyes, then the frog is a girl.
When a frog swallows its prey, it blinks, which pushes its eyeballs down on top of the mouth to help push the food down its throat.
Most frogs have teeth, although usually only on their upper jaw. The teeth are used to hold prey in place until the frog can swallow it.
Their tongues are attached to the front of the mouth.