Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Taking On Elephants

When I started writing
Spot the Frog, I decided not to research frogs. I wanted the strip to be fanciful, where nature was informed by whimsy, not reality. But that's been a challenge.

For example, I've discovered that frogs are gluttons. Just as inclined to stuff themselves as Spot or Buddy or the cartoonist who draws them. The Goliath Frog of West Africa will eat anything it can fit in its mouth, which demands a flexible diet and a measure of temerity. And Bullfrogs -- the frogs I think of when I think of frogs, and the frogs that loosely define Spot and Buddy -- from what I've read, are equally consumed with filling their stomachs.

But for sheer crazed bravado, consider this note from Carl Franklin, curator of the Biology department at the University of Texas:
"Meik recently recovered from the bite of a burrowing asp, the legendary venomous snake that killed Cleopatra. His left arm was still in a sling when he encountered a rare African bullfrog, an aggressive creature that sometimes barks at elephants. When he reached for it with his right hand, it bit his thumb."

Barking at elephants.

I'd love to see that on film.

I wonder if the elephants notice.