The third national awareness day for southern African frogs will be held on
Saturday 27 February 2016
Happy Leap Day!
It's Leap Day for Frogs in the Month of Love, where we celebrate the amphibious, dabble in the amorous, and highlight the challenges that our threatened frogs face. And what better way to add your voice to the cause than to send that special someone a unique message with our Frog Call Translator? It's simple: just select an endangered frog from the bank below (pun very much intended), and click the audio icon to hear its special mating call. Find out what it means in the translation box, and then get sharing!
Pickersgill's Reed Frog
Pickersgill's Reed Frog
Message: Don't pretend you don't want me. All the great lovers have "Reed" in their names. Lou Reed... Others... So many "Reeds". You get the idea. Call me?
Message: When I message you and you don't reply, I have to fight back the tears. Because I know that if I start crying, I'll shed enough to fill (and subsequently destroy) a fresh-water marsh. That's the power you have over me. Call me?
Message: Remember what the old Gypsy lady said? "You will fall in love with a small, dark stranger. With a shovel nose. And bright green spots." Well, well, well. It seems dreams really do come true... Call me?
What is the aim of Leap Day for Frogs?
It is one day of the year when ordinary South Africans can take a leap of action and do something to appreciate and protect one of the most threatened group of animals on Earth: Frogs! These important creatures are disappearing all over the planet largely because of habitat destruction.
Why 27 February?
Apart from having tongues 1/3 the length of their bodies, frogs are also famous for leaping across long distances – up to 20 times their own body length in a single leap! The South African Cape River Frog holds the world record for Frog Jumping – the longest distance covered in three consecutive jumps – at 10.3 m? Not bad for a 5 cm frog! And if you think about it, February leaps into March, skipping days 29, 30 and 31 except on Leap years, which occur every four years, adding the 29th of February to the calendar. People born on this day are called “Leaplings”.
That’s why 27th February seems the perfect day to leap into action and save our frogs.
Fun froggy facts
• There are over 7,000 known amphibian species, of which 6,277 are frogs, 647 are salamanders, and 192 are caecilians.
• Not all frogs have tadpoles. There are many terrestrial frog species that emerge as froglets directly from the egg, bypassing the tadpole stage altogether. For example, the Bush Squeaker which occurs in KwaZulu-Natal
• Amphibians are the oldest land vertebrates. Ichthyostega was an amphibian species that lived in Greenland 362 million years ago.
• South Africa’s smallest frog is also one of its most threatened. The appropriately named Micro Frog, which gets up to a maximum length of 18 mm, is Critically Endangered and known only from 4 localities in the southwestern Cape.
• And, our largest species is the Giant Bullfrog which reaches 25 cm and weighs in at 1.4 kg. 80% of this species’ habitat has been lost in urban areas, particularly Guateng.
• Some species only live a few years, but many live 6 or 7 years. The African Clawed Frog Xenopus laevis can live more than 30 years in captivity.
How can I get involved?
Arrange a fun froggy event on the 27th of February with your friends, family, school or colleagues. Click here for ideas