Gotcha, Pig Frog!
Pig Frogs (Rana grylio) — sometimes known as Lagoon Frogs or Southern Bullfrogs — are aquatic frogs that live in the Southeastern United States. Smooth-skinned and agile jumpers, they’re almost entirely aquatic, preferring lakes, wetlands, cypress swamps, and marshes that are heavy with vegetation. These innocuous little fellas are always heard, but not always seen. When I finally spied two of them — straining at odd angles into the wetland waters to nab shots, not always the safest endeavor — I was a happy camper.
What’s so interesting about this frog is its sound. The pig-like grunt is used by the males to attract females, and it sounds very similar to a grunting alligator (although not quite as deep) — and unbelievably, it’s just as loud, echoing through the waters. So when we’re walking in the Everglades, or in other areas thick with swamp or wetlands…and we hear a loud *GRUNT* with no visible noise-maker…we always pause. Even for those accustomed to alligators, this little frog’s resounding trickster guttural calls and lack of sight/access are daunting. Click here for their sound.
Sorry Pig frog, but Kermit you are not:
Fun (??) Fact:
Many cultures prize frog legs as an epicurean treat (ick). While most frog species are edible, it’s the larger ones — such as bullfrogs and pig frogs — that are large enough to be profitable. They’ve long been staples of the frog-leg industry in Florida, and are hunted at night from boats using lights and miniature pitchforks known as “frog gigs.” Not anyone can take up frog gigging or selling these frogs, however — a commercial freshwater fish dealer’s license is required.