Jumping for a Second Chance
Unlike Mark Twain’s, Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, this frog couldn’t hop, much less jump. Barbara House, a WR&E permitted rehabilitator found an injured Bull frog (Rana catesbeiana) in the street near her house. At the WR&E Wildlife Center, veterinarian Brenda Flores did an extensive exam. X-rays revealed a broken back leg. Dr. Flores collaborated with veterinarians at the Houston Zoo to repair the break. During surgery, a small pin was placed inside the bone to realign the broken ends and to stabilize it while it healed.
Back at the Wildlife Center, several weeks of supportive care allowed the break to heal. Mr. Frog was a gorgeous specimen, as big as a woman’s hand with muscular legs that were as long as the body. His silky skin was olive green with brown spotting.
Bull frogs are nocturnal and usually stay in vegetation at the water’s edge. This particular Bull frog had strayed from the water on a dark rainy night. We’ll never know if he left the security of home in search of food, a mate or was fleeing predators, but luckily for him Barbara and her dog found him before it was too late.
He was a great eater and quickly gained weight. At first he was kept in a small aquarium to minimize movement to allow the break to knit. Later, he was moved to a larger enclosure to encourage exercise that would restore strength to his legs.
On a warm July evening he was set free in a pasture pond where he could be heard croaking his thanks well into the night. Bull frogs breed from February to October so maybe by next spring there will be little tadpoles in the pond.