Dear Natures Child,
Welcome to our very first newsletter for young people. I will be sharing with you some of the wonderful experiences that being close to and understanding nature will bring you.
Our first story is about the huge Giant Bullfrogs that live in the grasslands on the Highveld (around Johannesburg). They are becoming quite endangered here as we are building so many houses and factories and their habitat is disappearing.
Bullfrogs live most of the year underground in the grasslands. They dig themselves in up to 50cm deep where they spend the winter.
When the good summer rains start, they come out of their burrows and start to look for the right habitat to breed in. This could be at the edge of a dam where short grasses grow. This is where they breed at Random Harvest. They can even breed in deep puddles at the side of roads.
They congregate and the males will fight with each other for the right to breed. Bullfrogs have one big tooth that they use to fight with other males. This is to make sure only the strongest breed. This is important as bullfrog males protect the eggs and tadpoles until they leave the water to go out int the grasslands. Bullfrogs will attack anything that tries to harm their babies – they even attacked my dog Abby when she put her nose too close to him.
They will dig trenches for the water to run to where their tadpoles are to make sure they have enough food and water to develop in.
It is amazing how quickly the frogs develop from tiny tadpoles into big tadpoles and then froglets. It only takes 2 weeks. The babies will leave the dam to go out into the grasslands to hunt for insects. They return each afternoon back to their father who will look after them for a few more days.
They need protection as many birds will try to eat them and even small snakes as you can see from the picture.
He then leaves to go back into the veld to feed on insects and get fat and ready to bury himself in his burrow again until the next good rains.
PICTURE OF A BULLFROG IN ITS HABITAT FOR YOU TO COLOUR IN
Please let me know if you have enjoyed this newsletter and if there are things you would like me to write to you about please let me know.
Please enter your email address and select the list or lists that you wish to subscribe to. You will then receive our e-mail messages when we send to that list.
Select the lists below to subscribe.
June 1March 1February 1