Frog Songs – The Weird Side of the Internet

Written by on April 12, 2024

Frog Songs – The Weird Side of the Internet – by Liam Sweeny.

One of the things I love about covering the weird side of the internet is that I’m a joy at parties. So much trivia, I must tell you. From the Bolivian festival where people fight each other, to the woman with over one-thousand cats who had to train in veterinary medicine because she couldn’t afford to have one on call, to Phineas Gage, who took an iron pike through the head and lived, I hold court over the punch bowl or water cooler. If I ever say, “I could tell you a thing or two…” watch out.

So my latest tidbit of trivia is this: did you know that frogs scream? Turns out, they do. So scientists were walking through the rain forest (where all the cool frogs are) and they noticed that a Leaf Litter Frog was arching it’s back, tilting its head back and opening its mouth like the lead singer of a metal band just as that breakdown is hitting. But no sound. So scientists being scientists, they recorded our little crooner using the good equipment that they really should put on the market for bands, and turns out, it was making a sound, so high that humans can’t hear it. This is what ultrasound is – super high frequency sound. They call it, in this case, defensive ultrasound.

So how high is this pitch? They can go anywhere from 7khz to 44khz. For a reference, the human upper limit for hearing is about 20khz. So the “baritone” frog scream would sound like nails on a chalkboard, maybe. The high end might sound familiar to audiophiles – it’s the sample rate for CD quality MP3s.

So the disturbing thing, at least for predators, is that the scientists believe that frogs scream not only to ward off predators, but to call other frogs to come and gang-attack predators (my words, not the scientists’.)

And I think there’s one other reason – frog bands. Frog shows. Hoppity hoppity in the pit.



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