The Edible Frog

Abstract

YOUR correspondent Mr. Miller (vol. x. p. 483), will find, in Cooke's “British Reptiles,” p. 103, accounts of other endeavours to naturalise Rana esculenta. About ten years ago I imported a basket full from the Parisian fish-market, where they can easily be obtained, and turned them out into a pond at Woburn Abbey, in Bedfordshire. They thrived and multiplied there; but our summers are seldom hot enough to enable the tadpole to attain his full development before the cold autumnal nights set in. Last week, for example, I forwarded to Prof. Huxley a living tadpole of R. esculenta, born in Bedfordshire, who will scarcely complete his evolution before the winter, though his hind legs are fully developed. I have several summers, however, observed a plentiful supply of young esculentæ, and I believe that in our climate the young will pass the winter as tadpoles, and complete their transformation in the following spring. But this would require more accurate observation before I can affirm it with certainty. During the past summer I imported from Berlin a fresh supply of 200 exceedingly fine specimens, as my French frogs had been reduced in numbers after the frequent visits of a heron. R. esculenta is easily imported in the spring, and will travel many days packed in damp moss. These frogs are easily preserved, being more aquatic in their habits than our R. temporariæ, who roam through the woods and meadows in search of food when the breeding season is over, while the edible frog remains on the banks of his native pond, into which he plunges, describing a graceful curve, at the slightest approach of danger. They have been introduced into Ireland quite lately, from France, by the Earl of Granard, at Castle Forbes; with what success I am unable yet to say. In the spring any number can be easily obtained from the Parisian market, or the aquarium shop of M. Carbonier, 20, Quai du Louvre, Paris; or from the keeper of the reptiles in the Jardin des Plantes, who always has a plentiful supply to feed his snakes.

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RUSSELL, A. The Edible Frog. Nature 10, 520 (1874). https://doi.org/10.1038/010520b0

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