10 Things You Never Knew About Frogs

The Icelandic Knocker Frog is unique in being the only animal on the planet, apart from man, that can make cheese on toast.  They can also climb rope ladders, a skill that has proven invaluable over the years in helping them to escape from danger.   You're probably wondering why it's called a 'Knocker' Frog.  So are we.

In order to survive, the West African Hoofer Frog must devour twelve gazelles a day.  Luckily it has the ability to stun its prey by performing a complex hypnotic dance routine, which has been likened to a combination of traditional Latin rumba and modern tap.  Gazelles can't get enough of it, and while the victim stares transfixed at its strangely erotic gyrations, the frog's mates creep up on it from behind and twat it with a rock.  During the dry season food becomes scarce and the frog must travel many miles in search of victims.  Luckily it is able to cover vast distances at speeds in excess of 70 mph, because it drives a Land Rover.

Frogs can jump ten times their own bodyweight.

The common bullfrog became an essential fashion accessory during the latter part of the nineteenth century, thanks to its natural elasticity.  Ladies used them as chinstraps to secure expensive hats against strong winds, and a gentleman wouldn't be considered properly dressed unless he was using a pair of bullfrog braces to prevent his strides from hitting the deck.  Unfortunately, bullfrogs are prone to snap, unless they are kept damp, and this resulted in some nasty cases of 'froglash'.  They finally fell into disuse when it was discovered that you could use gerbils like Velcro.

The South American Toilet Frog can flush itself up to three times a day, without suffering any ill effects.

As a way of concealing itself from its enemies, the Slateback Frog of Germany and Northern Poland has developed the extraordinary ability to disguise itself as an abandoned factory unit.  It's a technique that works beautifully.  Predators become confused and disorientated when, after giving chase for some distance, they suddenly find themselves cannoning into a large prefabricated building.  In fact, the disguise works rather too well, and the Slateback Frog is now on the verge of extinction after whole colonies were demolished during industrial redevelopment projects in the Rhine Valley.

The biggest frog in the world is called Keith Baxter and he lives under a slab in Somerset.  He is a mystic ninja who does crosswords in the morning and spends his afternoons dispensing wisdom to his fellow pond life.

The Speckled Ridgeback, which inhabits the small island of Looto in the Indian Ocean, subsists entirely on a diet of ants.  A single Ridgeback will consume, on average, about two hundred and twenty ants a day.  Bizarrely, the island cannot support any other form of life - just frogs and ants.  This means that the ants are forced to subsist entirely on a diet of frogs.  Of course, a single ant cannot pose much of a threat to a fully grown frog, but many ants working together are easily a match for the amphibians.   It takes, on average, about two hundred and twenty ants to bring down a Speckled Ridgeback, and this will feed them for a day.  This daily battle for survival between ant and frog has gone on for many hundreds of years, and neither side has managed to gain the upper hand.  And it's a stalemate that looks set to continue, until one side - either ant or frog - decides that it's had enough, builds a raft and leaves the island for good.

In medieval times it was believed that licking frogs was good for rheumatism.   It's easy to dismiss this kind of traditional folk medicine but, surprisingly, recent studies have revealed that there is some truth to the idea.  Researchers in Sweden have been carrying out a closely monitored programme of frog licking for the past eighteen months and have announced that the frogs are fifty per cent less likely to suffer from rheumatism than a control group that have been allowed to go unlicked.

Frogs can go for up to 48 days without sandwiches, although they do require intermittent meals of Mars bars and cocktail sausages.  If they're going on fairly long trips they can get by quite easily on a couple of Scotch eggs and a slice of pork pie, although the chances are they'll be desperately in need of a burger by the time they get to their destination.   Frogs do not like pasta.


Due to the destruction of their natural habitats, urban frogs are becoming increasingly common as more and more of them are forced to migrate to towns and cities.   You can typically find them on waste ground, or tucked away in nooks and crannies.   Quite a lot of them are involved in the financial services industry, and are doing quite well for themselves.  They've pretty much cornered the insurance market by offering lower premiums and improved customer service, but when it comes to investments they still have a lot to learn.  Oh sure, they always sound pretty knowledgeable and they might assure you of a healthy return on your capital but, trust me, they're talking crap.



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Slimy Albert:
The Frog King

Long before mankind had ceased his nomadic wanderings - before towns and villages, and fields and farmsteads - a great and mighty frog kingdom stretched across the world, reaching across Europe, Asia and even taking in parts of Australia and the Americas.  And the potentate of this glorious frog nation was a wise and noble and much loved amphibian by the name of Slimy Albert.  So highly regarded was Slimy Albert that his subjects would come from far and wide to pay homage, and bring him gifts of precious rocks, expensive tableware and chocolate digestives (which were his favourite).  And this was all very nice and splendid, and all the frogs were happy, and hardly anyone ever had to get hurt in cruel and unusual ways.

However, not everyone thought so highly of the Frog King - particularly not the toads, who were lawless and spiteful and had no real appreciation for chocolate digestives or, for that matter, custard creams or fig rolls.  They vowed to destroy Slimy Albert's kingdom, tear down his palace and trample all over his biscuits.  Their attack, when it came, was vicious and brutal and caught Slimy Albert completely by surprise.  Before he had chance to react, they had smashed his armies, destroyed his strongholds and seized control of a number of strategically important ponds.

But Slimy Albert was not about to concede defeat.   He rallied his remaining troops and -  along with a band of hired newts, and a squadron of dragonflies who were sympathetic to his cause - he marched on the toads' main base of operations, which was to be found beneath a hedge in East Anglia.  The toads, however, had been tipped off:  they were ready and waiting for the Royalists, and they slit them up a treat.  Slimy Albert himself was captured and sentenced to execution.  And even today many people are overcome by sadness when they are reminded of his ignoble demise - impaled on the business end of a bicycle pump, surrounded by hundreds of jeering toads waiting expectantly with their fingers in their ears.

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