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March 7 2021
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Amorous toads get it on


When South Grafton's Bev Metcalf tennis was interrupted by a burst of croaking near her back door, she noticed a large lump in the glow from the light inside and thought "cane toad".

But her fears were allayed when she flicked on a torch and lit up this passionate scene.

"I've emailed this picture to all my friends and told them to have a look at this threesome," Bev said.

Her partner, Ernie Miller, who lived on a farm for 75 years said he had never seen anything like it.

"They were certainly having some fun judging by the big smiles on their faces," Bev said.

Bev is a bit of an amateur frog expert, having kept a green frog called Hercules as a pet for years.

"They can live up to 20 years," she said.

In technical terms the throes of frog or toad passion is known as amplexus.

Frogs adopt different mating strategies to most humans.

For many species, including the one this trio belong to, the advent of wet weather is the signal to start breeding.

For the males this means jumping on anything pliable and vaguely froglike and hanging on.

Because they don't possess genitalia as humans know it, they fertilise their eggs externally.

If a female frog is not ready to mate, she makes a vibrating signal, telling the male to get off and find a more willing mate.

How Do Frogs Find Mates? During breeding season, when they want to find a mate, frogs often return to the place where they hatched. Usually, the males arrive first. Each male croaks loudly to establish its own territory. In many species, when the females arrive, the males puff up vocal sacs in their throats and make a special mating call. They wait for females to respond.After a female chooses a male, he climbs onto her back and holds onto her in the water. The female lays eggs and the male produces a milky substance that is poured over the eggs to fertilize (FURH tuhl lyz) them.

After a period of from several days to several weeks (varying with species, water temperature, and amount of sunshine) tadpoles hatch out. The tadpole, or polliwog, is a frog in the larval stage. It has a tail and breathes with gills. At first the tadpole is legless, but as it develops it acquires first hind legs and then front legs. The tail is gradually absorbed, lungs develop, and the animal is metamorphosed (changed) into an adult frog. An adult attains full growth in about three years and may have a life span of 10 years or more.

Is That Thing a Frog? A tadpole doesn't look much like a frog—but when it grows up, that's exactly what it will be. Most types of frogs spend the first stage of life as tadpoles, which is simply another name for frog larvae.

Tadpoles hatch out of eggs that are covered by a thick, jellylike coat that keeps them moist. At first, tadpoles look a lot like fish. They have gills, lidless eyes, and finlike tails for swimming.

Some kinds of tadpoles go through metamorphosis in about 10 days. Others take as long as two years to change form completely.

During metamorphosis, a tadpole first grows hind legs. Then forelegs appear from under the gills. The mouth widens and a tongue develops. Then the lungs develop and the gills disappear. The skin gets thicker and tougher, nostrils form, and the body absorbs the tail: it disappears! The tadpole has become a frog.

Some frogs do not lay eggs in water. A frog found in the Solomon Islands lays large, tough-shelled eggs from which fully formed froglets are hatched. In some species of tree frogs, the female lays the eggs on leaves or carries them in a pouch on her back where they eventually hatch.

Feeding Tadpoles feed mainly on algae. After metamorphosis, the digestive system changes, and the frog eats flies, worms, slugs, spiders, caterpillars, and small beetles. The bullfrog is large enough to swallow crayfish and small birds. Some kinds of tropical frogs eat rats, bats, and snakes.


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