Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Frog Week: Turtle Frog.

Hello, hello! If you look above you, you will see a brand, shiny-new banner! Yes, I know it's still a little misaligned, but we have gerbils working on that. Welcome to Frog Week, one and all!  

Wait. Those are frogs? They look oddly reptilian for frogs. Holy carp, are they rejects for experiments to create real Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? That would be awesome.

Haha, rest assured, the pink, fleshy creatures up there are indeed frogs. They're turtle frogs (Myobatrachus gouldii) - burrowing frogs native only to one arid region in Western Australia. That these frogs are Australian should explain a lot to many of you. They are approximately 2 inches long, which only adds to their strange cuteness. They are the only members in the genus Myobatrachus, meaning that they're unique, even for Aussie creatures.

Turtle, turtle! :D

Turtle frogs do indeed look a lot like turtles. They have small heads, round bodies, and stumpy limbs. Even though there are other burrowing froggies out there, turtle frogs even dig like turtles.We really are not fit to judge if these little guys are turtle-y enough for the Turtle Club, but they sure do come close.

Turtle frogs are uniquely adapted to a hot, dry environment. They hatch underground, developing entirely within the eggshell. Most of their time is spent underground or digging for termites. Even when calling, the males only have their strange, alien heads above the ground. They only emerge after it rains, probably freaking out several bystanders.

These frogs eat termites. Only termites. (If you read the entry on numbats, another Australian termite eater, this should sound familiar.) We suppose this is a good thing if you ever find the buggers eating your furniture. Otherwise, termites may be a little bit difficult to find should you desire one of these weird frogs as a pet. I'm not even sure if they can be kept as pets due to this strange food source.

This frog, unlike many others this week, is under absolutely no threat. Phew! 

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