A Leap of Frogs & Ranidaphobia

Does the sound of frogs at night fill you with terror or does it relax you? How would you feel if a colony of frogs inhabited your yard? Have you ever seen a horror frog break its own legs?

male green frog, wikipedia

male green frog, wikipedia

Random Facts About Frogs
>There are over 5,000 species of frogs.

>Frogs do not need to drink water. They absorb it through their skin.

>Frogs begin life as tadpoles. They are hatched from jelly-covered eggs that have been laid in water—ponds, streams, puddles. Each year, frogs lay eggs in puddles filled by rain in my yard, and they lay hundreds of eggs at a time.

The eggs need to be kept moist, and tadpoles obviously need to begin their life in water, but not all frogs deposit their eggs directly into a body of water. Asian tree frogs build their nests in trees above water. When their eggs hatch, the tadpoles fall into the water below. How would that be for your first experience after birth?

Panama Poison Dart Frog with tadpoles on back, wikimedia commons

Panama Poison Dart Frog with tadpoles on back, wikimedia commons

The poison dart frog will lay her eggs during the rainy season and deposit them on a leaf or on the forest floor close to water. Unlike other frogs, she lays only two to twelve eggs at a time. The male frog will closely guard the eggs and keep them wet until they hatch a couple of weeks later. Once they hatch, the tadpoles hop on the back of their father, and he carries them to a body of water.

The parents keep a close eye on their offspring. If food is scarce, the female will deposit unfertilized eggs in the water for the tadpoles to eat.

>A frog’s voice carries for quite a distance. The call of one—each species has a unique call—can be heard up to a mile away.

>Frogs are jumpers. They can jump over 10 times their own body length. Now, this might not seem like much to you as frogs aren’t that big. But, if you could jump 10 times your own body length, how far could you jump?

>Frogs are good luck, so you need to keep plenty of them around. The ancient Romans believed they were lucky and would even keep them in the house. They were also used as mascots.

garden frog decoration, pixabay

garden frog decoration, pixabay

In Scotland, since the Celtic times, frogs have been looked upon as a sign of good luck. They will keep stone frogs in their gardens, and frog figurines will be given as housewarming gifts to bring good luck to the new home owners.

In Egypt and Greece, they were symbols of creative inspiration. Maybe every writer needs to have a frog figurine on her writing desk and a leap of frogs to sing to her at night.

The second plague that God sent upon Egypt was one of frogs (Exodus 8:1-4). Frogs were literally everywhere! I love frogs, but I would not like pulling them out of my meatloaf.

Even so, Egypt believed that frogs symbolize fruitfulness. Heqet, the goddess of childbirth and fertility, was at times depicted as a frog. Other times, she had the body of a woman but the head of a frog.

Fear of Frogs
Ranidaphobia is the fear of frogs, but it is also the fear of toads, newts, and other amphibians.

Nothing is more soothing to me on a spring or summer evening than to open the windows and hear the frogs singing. To me, that sound is as soothing as the sound of ocean waves. For those with ranidaphobia, would a chorus of frogs fill them with fear?

Why would people fear frogs? I’ve read several reasons why they could fear frogs. What are these reasons?

1) Some think that frogs are not very clean animals and could pass the germs on to them.

2) They could fear having an allergic reaction to them. Yes, there really have been instances of people having allergic reactions to frogs. This hasn’t happened a lot, but I guess that the fact it has happened is reason enough for some.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6604474

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1398-9995.1997.tb01051.x/pdf

3) To me, this one is reaching a bit, but since frogs jump and tend to blend in with their surroundings, people could fear frogs jumping out in front of them.

4) They could have had a traumatic childhood experience with frogs. Maybe one was locked in a small container full of frogs. Maybe one had a nightmare about frogs and woke up to find a frog on his chest staring into his eyes.

poison dart frogs at Maritime Aquarium, flickr

poison dart frogs at Maritime Aquarium, flickr

5) They could believe frogs to be poisonous. Out of all the reasons, this one makes the most sense to me. There are poisonous frogs—the poison dart frogs. These dangerous amphibians come in several different colors: red, green, yellow, and blue. Some of them also have patterns of stripes and/or spots.

Their skin stays sticky from mucus, and their poison is secreted through the skin. Even one lick of the frog—yuck—can be fatal. So, if you are someone who has the peculiar habit of licking frogs, it would not be a good idea to lick a poison dart frog. But the poison can also enter the bloodstream through an open cut or wound.

The poison from this frog is extremely toxic, but the poison from frogs bred in captivity loses a lot of its strength.

These frogs live in the tropical and subtropical zones from central Mexico to the southernmost point of South America. If you live elsewhere, there’s no need to worry about encountering a poison dart frog except in an exhibit of amphibians.

6) Maybe a person with ranidaphobia has seen a horror frog in action. The horror frog is also known as the wolverine frog or the hairy frog. Watch the videos below and you will understand how it obtained these names.

Collective Nouns
What would you call a group of frogs?

an army of frogs – Can you imagine an army of frogs marching out to war? There is a children’s book, An Army of Frogs, about a group of frogs that must fight.

a chorus of frogs – This would be a great name for a group of singing frogs.

a colony of frogs – A colony of frogs would be protected by an army of frogs.

a knot of frogs – One of the meanings of knot is a group or cluster of persons or things.

a leap of frogs – This collective noun is my creation, and I think it describes a group of frogs better than any of the others.

writing, pixabay

writing, pixabay

Writing Prompts
An Army of Frogs was written by Joel Naftali. He wrote about an army of frogs, so choose one of the other frog collective nouns and write a story based on it.

Asian tree frogs build their nests in trees above water. When their eggs hatch, the tadpoles fall into the water below. Write a story about one of their young and his/her first scary memory. Does this one grow up with a fear of heights? Or does this experience have the opposite effect?

Write a story about someone with ranidaphobia. Why does she fear frogs? What does she do when frogs lay eggs in water outside her house?

Write about a pet frog that solves mysteries.

Write about a horror frog that breaks its legs not to save itself but to save another animal or human.

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