The Case of the Chlorinated Croaker

How does a frog die in water? Every year I find dead frogs in my pool skimmer basket and I wonder about them.

I assume that some of them drowned because they got caught in the pull of the skimmer’s intake. I suspect that some of the others died of chlorine poisoning.

The other day, I found a deceased frog that was bleached from the neck down. Live frogs will float with only their heads above water. This critter’s reverse tan-line made his torso and legs look very pale. Because its face wasn’t bleached, I guessed that it didn’t drown.

I tossed the poor thing over the fence. It happened to land belly-up on a pile of leaves which made it very easy to see. I thought that a bird or other scavenger would soon come by and devour the bloated and bleached amphibian. To my surprise, it was still there the next day and again the day after that. I saw it when I dumped some leaves from the skimmer basket. I’ll look again this afternoon.

Maybe the backyard scavengers are finding plenty of food elsewhere. Perhaps they rejected the frog because it was pale or because it smelled like chlorine. It would be a good experiment for a froggy Body Farm if  such a thing existed.

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2 Responses to The Case of the Chlorinated Croaker

  1. Frank Jr. says:

    You probably have enough materials to make a froggy Body Farm of your own! From what I can tell, the frogs do die from chlorine poisoning. Frogs and other amphibians have very thin and permeable skin. They can even absorb oxygen through their skin while underwater. They would also absorb harmful chemicals in the water, like chlorine, and this ends up killing them. The birds and other scavengers likely avoid them because they would taste like a chlorine sponge!

  2. Meaghan says:

    …Exhibit A to support that Frank Jr. would have made a great “byologoust.”

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