The other evening I was sitting in a staring contest with that big ol’ bullfrog when Hickory dropped from a tree behind me. The frog gave a ‘meep’ of surprise and leapt into the pond.
“What’d you do that for?”
“I was waiting to see if he’d start calling, but he hasn’t.”
“No, he hasn’t. That’s because he is a she. Female bullfrogs don’t vocalize.”
“What? How did you find out it’s a girl?”
I was ready to have some fun with this brash youngster. “I looked.”
Hickory shuffled his feet.
“At her tympanic membrane. Her eardrum.”
“Oh.” He looked a little relieved. That’ll teach that boy to sneak up on an old squirrel. “Is it a special color?”
“No, it’s just small. In a male, the eardrum is bigger than the eye. Have a look at our girl.”
We waited until she came back up onto her rock.
“Okay,” he said. “She’s not gonna call. Want to come down to the golf course pond with me and listen to those frogs?”
So I followed his scampering tail on down there. Bullfrogs were chorusing their hearts out. It was lovely and I even thanked Hickory for inviting me.
I asked Nutmeg, but she doesn’t have any fancy equipment to record and play them on our website, but she looked up these links for me. The first is a great little video by Herpnet.net and the second at Animal Diversity has a bunch of frog calls so you can figure out what you’re hearing if you can’t find the frogs like squirrels can.