Oklahoma's number one blog for natural and cultural history.
We told you today’s edition of “Inside the Treasure Box” would be big, and that’s no bull. In May 1995, the largest recorded American bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana, in North America was collected from Bishop Creek in Norman, Oklahoma. Although specimens tend to shrink slightly during preservation, this bullfrog was just over eight inches long and weighed two pounds in life. Crazy, right?
In 1996, a retired University of Oklahoma professor, Victor Hutchison, and two of his students wrote an article recording the frog’s size, which was then published in the Herpetological Review, an academic journal for professionals in herpetology. Hutchinson and his students also mailed a submission to the Guinness Book of World Records.
Unfortunately, the record was beat in 1999 by another American bullfrog found in Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology. This frog, collected in 1942, came in at a whopping 8.66 inches long and continues to hold the record for largest American bullfrog in North America to this day. If the specimen from Bishop Creek had been selected by Guinness, it would have been the Sam Noble Museum’s second world-record holding piece, the other being the Pentaceratops skull currently on exhibit.
You want to see more, right? Of course you do! We’ve got all kinds of prehistoric, slimy and brightly-plumed treasures headed your way, so stay tuned as we make our way through the best of the best from each of our eleven collections. Remember, “Inside the Treasure Box” is an eleven-week blogging series, so be sure to pencil us in for the next few Wednesdays. Got it? Good. It’s a date.
See you next week!
When you think of endangered species, you may draw to mind pictures of Giant Pandas and Black Rhinos, but would you ever picture a bullfrog from your own backyard? According to Save the Frogs, an American public charity dedicated to preserving these amiable amphibians, 2,000 amphibian species are threatened with extinction and may not survive the 21st century.
The last Saturday in April is now internationally known as Save the Frogs Day, a day of bringing awareness to this pressing matter. This year, the Sam Noble Museum’s herpetology collection manager, Jessa Watters, traveled to Cesar Chavez Elementary School in Oklahoma City to celebrate Save the Frogs Day with seven kindergarten classes, while teaching them a thing or two about preservation.
Watters teaching students about frog endangerment.
According to Watters, a quarter of the world’s amphibian populations are in decline due to habitat pollution, pet trade, pesticides and an amphibian fungal disease known as chytridiomycosis. Pet trade poses one of the largest threats as frogs are taken from their natural environment and improperly cared for in artificial habitats. On the flip side, problems arise when frog owners release unwanted pets into the wrong habitat, which can create a domino effect of difficulties in a given ecosystem.
Of course, this is a lot of information for kindergarteners to absorb, so Watters focused on teaching the students the basics of herpetology: What is an amphibian? How is it different than a reptile? Is it better to be camouflaged or poisonous as a frog? Watters and the children then drew and colored pictures of frogs while discussing the importance of taking care of the environment and the animals that dwell in it.
The students coloring their favorite frogs.
At the end of the day, each student took home a 3D paper frog as a reminder that every day should be Save the Frogs Day.