Over the weekend, the hubby and I had a few minutes to take a walk around my parents’ neighborhood in central Ohio. Though firmly rooted in the suburbs, we came across the tiny remainders of a wetland (presumably drained) at the edge of the neighborhood. Cattails grew on both sides of what had turned into something a drainage ditch, and duckweed and some sort of potamogeton floated here and there in the shallow water. What we enjoyed best though–frogs! It may have been a small space, but this little patch of habitat was crowded with green frogs. I only had my phone on me, but I snapped a few pictures that I thought would be fun to share. Can you find the frogs in the pictures below?
Found the frogs? Excellent! Now, while I have the floor, I do want to highlight a few things about frogs that are super important.
- Frogs, along with other amphibians, are invaluable as indicator species. If there is a problem with a habitat, frogs and salamanders are among the first kind of living things to struggle because of their thin semi-permeable or permeable skin. And this is very important: if there is a problem with a wetland or a waterway, it’s not just a problem for “nature.” It’s a problem for us as well.
- Amphibian populations around the world are declining. There are a number of speculated causes, but high on the list are habitat loss and the spread of the chytrid fungus.
- Why are frogs helpful for you? For one thing, their diet includes a number of pesty insects including (wait for it)…mosquitoes. So, if you’re not a fan of getting bitten by creepy crawlies, you like frogs.
- Why else are frogs helpful for you? A looming medical disaster is the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Countless numbers of human lives have been saved over the past several decades through the use of antibiotics, but a shadow is falling over that triumph as bacteria have begun developing resistance to what used to be effective treatments. However, antimicrobial peptides from frogs’ skin secretions may be one of the hopes for the future of bacterial infection treatment. If we keep our frogs safe, we might also be safeguarding medicines for the next generation. (P.S. This is for another post, but I can’t help it: you can help slow the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria. If you are prescribed an antibiotic, be sure you use the medication only as directed by your doctor. Please do not Google “Do I have to finish my antibiotics.” Your doctor examined you; a blogger with an opinion did not. That includes me! Also, be aware that antibiotics are useless against viral infections, so don’t pressure your doctor if they say you’ll just have to wait it out. Most importantly: never share medication. Now back to frogs!)
- If you still don’t believe me about how crazy cool frogs are, trust the experts at the Smithsonian! If anyone has fun facts, they do 🙂