The Cry of the Frog


THE fact that the common frog (Rana temporaria) is capable of crying out lustily when he feels himself in danger, does not seem to have been frequently remarked. In my small walled garden there is a common frog who is persecuted by three cats. His residence is a heap of slates at the foot of an ivied wall, and here he is safe. But if he ventures far abroad his tormentors soon espy him, and though they seem nearly as much terrified as himself, they cannot resist the temptation to touch him with their paws. He immediately opens his mouth and utters a prolonged cry, which appears to be very surprising to the cats, who draw back for a few moments, and then pat him again, apparently out of mere curiosity, to be again scared by the same unusual sound. This sound is a shrill and rather sibilant wail, like the note of a small penny trumpet or the cry of a new-born infant. There can be no mistake about it, as I have repeatedly touched the frog with my own hand after driving the cats away, and the same cry has immediately followed, the lower jaw being dropped so that the mouth stands open about a quarter of an inch at the tip.

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MOTT, F. The Cry of the Frog. Nature 10, 461 (1874).

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