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How to Catch Frogs

By Dan Beard

 One way is to walk alongside of the stream or pond and drive the frogs into the water.  They will not go far, but make great pretensions of doing so, and kick up the mud so as to deceive and blind you as to their real hiding-place.  

A few moments' waiting, however, will allow the mud to settle, and then, near the shore, you will see a suspicious lump of mud, and you need not doubt that the frog has doubled on his track to mislead you.  It may be that from this lump of mud two bulging eyes appear. At any rate quietly slip your hand in the water, and with a quick motion grasp the lump, and you will have the frog. 

Some boys acquire great skill in catching live animals.  When I was a small chap I watched with interest the movements of a cat while in pursuit of birds, and discovered that its plan of action was simply this: slow, deliberate movement, with frequent and long pauses whenever the prey showed signs of alarm, no violent motion until the game was within reach; then a sudden stroke with a curved paw and extended nails seldom failed to grapple or hook the victim. 

Long I pondered over this, and then began a series of experiments, and could soon proudly boast of the capture with bare hands of a gray squirrel, several pigeons, a cage full of gold-finches, turtles and frogs by the gross-not little, half-grown frogs, but great yellow-throated, green- backed, full-grown bull-frogs. 

Once I crept up upon a big Virginia horned owl, and could undoubtedly have caught him, but I was a little chap, and when I looked at his great hooked talons my heart failed me, and I simply pushed him off his perch and fled as the astonished owl silently flew away.  Since then I have seen a Virginia horned owl sink his talons through a heavy cowhide shoe. 

A full-grown frog will bite at almost any object that moves near it, except a snake. In some experiments I made with two frogs they both showed great alarm when a little baby garter-snake was put in the same aquarium with them.  Yet one of these frogs afterward swallowed his mate, and attempted the same feat with my young alligator.  

 How to Keep Frogs

Put them in a covered vessel of any kind that will hold water, but do not make the common mistake of filling or half filling the vessel with water, or you will drown all your frogs.  Put a lot of gravel, mud, moss, or sand in the bottom of your frog-bucket, and add only enough water to saturate thoroughly the material at the bottom of your bucket. 

Use a perforated tin or wooden cover that will admit plenty of air, or a cover made of wire netting, or an old piece of mosquito netting, or any other cloth with open meshes that will admit plenty of air.

In such a home the frogs will retain their health and vigor for any length of time.  I have kept them for over a year alive and apparently happy.  It is not necessary to feed them more than once a week, so you need have no fear of starving them.







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Last modified: October 15, 2016.