Monday, October 19, 2009

Blue Throated Carniverous Land Frog

As if you needed yet another reason not to wander alone in the Amazonian rainforest of Brazil, along comes the Blue Throated Carniverous Land Frog. Clocking in at 50 pounds and over 4 feet tall, this wonder of the natural world has razor sharp teeth and the appetite of an entire school of barracudas. These babies can hop seven feet and wrap a six-foot long sticky tongue around your entire body, after which it's game over. What's worse is that they're occasionally known to hunt in packs. In 1974, a dozen Land Frogs descended on a small village near the Ecuadorian border in Brazil. There were no survivors. A number of scientists who set out to study the creatures in the wild are still missing, and so little is known of these amphibians. In 1956, two hunters from Manaus succeeded in trapping one of the creatures, and it was exhibited in a private zoo in Salvador, Bahia until 1969, when it choked to death on a chicken wing. Nicknamed Bananada, the Frog was a Brazilian celebrity and spawned a short-lived and ill-advised animated series called Bananada Gosta Suas Criancas.

Despite the fearsome reality, these scary creatures do not figure prominently in the arts. Warner Brothers killed a project called Killer Frogs while it was still in development after Variety made fun of it. The project was set to star Cory Feldman as a poacher with an Ahab-like fixation on bagging a Land Frog. Mario Vargos Llosa's short story Blue Belly is about a scientist on a comic, Quixotic quest to photograph the frog, and Jorge Luis Borges used the frog as a metaphor for death in his story The Perambulations of a Human Fly. In the first draft of Edward Gorey's The Gashlycrumb Tinies, one of the children is eaten by a Blue Throated Carniverous Land Frog, to much hilarity. His editor thought it too silly, and Gorey, outraged, changed it to a leech in a subtle attempt at insult.

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