The warm temperatures of the past week also brought out the resonant resident bullfrogs in the Plaza Pond. Their deep voiced—"jug-o-rum," "jug-o-rum"—could be heard every afternoon.
Bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) are the largest of the 14 species of frogs and toads found in the Tennessee Valley. The biological family Ranidae is the so called "true frogs." They are usually largish species characterized by slim waists and wrinkled skin; many have thin ridges running along their backs but generally lack bumps and "warts" like typical toads.
Bullfrogs can reach a body length of six inches with a whooping eight inches being the record length. The gender can be determined by the size of the eardrum (the round membrane behind the eye). Females have an eardrum (tympanum) the same size as their eye; a male's eardrum is larger than his eye.
At Ijams, look for bullfrogs in the Plaza Pond in front of the Visitor Center.
- Text and photo by Stephen Lyn Bales