American Bullfrog

RANGE: This highly aquatic frog may be found in the eastern and central United States; also New Brunswick and parts of Nova Scotia. Extensively introduced in the west. Metamorphs and juveniles are seen more frequently that adults.

DESCRIPTION: 3.5 to 8″ (9-20.3cm) The largest of the frogs in North America. Green to yellow above with random mottling of darker gray. Large external eardrum; hind feet fully webbed except for last joint of longest toe. No dorsolateral ridges. Belly cream to white, may be mottled with gray.

VOICE: Deep-pitched jug o’rum call can be heard for more than quarter mile on quiet mornings.

BREEDING: northern areas, May to July; southern, February to October. Egg masses are attached to submerged vegetation. Tadpoles are large, 4-6.75″ (10.2-17.1 cm), olive green, and may take up to 2 years to morph into froglets.

HABITAT: Aquatic, Prefers ponds, lakes, and slow moving streams large enough to avoid crowding and with sufficient vegetation to provide easy cover.

NOCTURNAL: Less aquatic than the Pig Frog, it is usually found on the bank at the waters edge. When frightened, it will as soon flee to nearby vegetation as take to the water. Large specimens have been known to catch and swallow birds and young snakes; its usual diet includes insects, crayfish, other frogs, and minnows.

The top picture of the American Bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) is an Albino (lacking all black color) and occurs frequently in reptiles and amphibians!


AMERICAN ALLIGATOR!

RANGE: The American Alligator inhabits the southern United States! It lives in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisana, Texas, Oklahonma and Arkansas.

DESCRIPTION: 6′-13.4′ Largest reptile in North America. Distinguished from American Crocodile by it wide broad snout. Generally black with yellowish or cream crossbands that become less apparent with age.

VOICE: During the breeding season adults produce a throaty deep-pitchedbellowing roar that can be heard over a considerable distance!

BREEDING: American Alligators mate after emerging from hibernation. In June, female alligators build a nest mound of mud and vegetation. She then lays 20-60 eggs in a depression in the top of the nest that she has excavated. During the 9 weeks of incubation the alligator stays close to the nest. The calling of the young alligators inside the nest prompts the female to dig up the eggs. Alligators show great parental care. The young alligators will remain with their mother for 1-3 years!

HABITAT: The alligator inhabits fresh and brackish marshes, ponds, lakes, rivers, swamps, bayous and big spring runs.

HABITAT IMPORTANCE: Alligators are important to the ecology of there habitats. During droughts alligators dig deep holes which provide water for the wildlife community.

The bottom picture of the American Alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) is anAlbino (lacking all black color) and there are only 30 true albino alligators in the world!


HORNED LIZARDS!

RANGE: Horned Lizards are found only in the western portions of the United States and Mexico. There are 14 recognized species. They range from Arkansas to the Pacific Coast, and from British Columbia south to Guatemala.

DESCRIPTION: 2 1/2-7 1/8″ (6.3-18.1 cm). Flat-bodied lizard with large crown of spines on head; 2 center spines longest. 2 rows of pointed scales fringe each side. Belly scales keeled. Red to yellow to gray; dark spots have light rear margins. Dark lines radiate from eye.

BREEDING: Mates April to May. Clutch of 14-37 eggs is laid in burrow dug by female May to July. Young hatch in some 6 weeks, measure about 1 1/4″ (3.1 cm).

HABITAT: From sea level to 6,000′ (1,800 m) in dry areas, mostly open country with loose soil supporting grass, mesquite, cactus.

DISSCUSION: Diurnal. This lizard is the common “horned toad” of the pet trade. But since it feeds almost exclusively on live large ants—generally unavailable to the pet owner—most pet horned lizards slowly starve to death over a period of months.

DEFENSE: Horned lizards use a wide variety of means to avoid predation. Their coloration generally serves as camouflage. When threatened, their first defense is to remain still to avoid detection. If approached too closely, they generally run in short bursts and stop abruptly to confuse the predator’s visual acuity. If this fails, they puff up their body to cause it to look more horny, making it appear larger and more difficult to swallow. At least four species are also able to squirt an aimed stream of blood (Called Autohaemorrhaging) from the corners of the eyes for a distance of up to 5 feet. They do this by restricting the blood flow leaving the head, thereby increasing blood pressure and rupturing tiny vessels around the eyelids. This not only confuses predators, but also the blood tastes foul to canine and feline predators. It appears to have no effect against predatory birds. To avoid being picked up by the head or neck, horned lizards duck or elevate their head and orient their cranial horns straight up, or back. If a predator tries to take it by the body, the lizard drives that side of its body down into the ground so that the predator cannot easily get its lower jaw underneath the lizard.