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tion. Not many years ago, on fishing a pond belong. bull, only fomewhat we hoarte. Their fize is superior
carp, is a fact indisputable, from the following rela- spotted. These make a monitrous roaring noise like a
ing to Mr Pitt of Encomb, Dorsetshire, great numbers to that of any other
the hind legs clinging to the back, and the fore legs equal in fpeed a ver

f the genus, and they can spring Yarap by this means they wil | horle in its swiftest course.

t Atreams. When many R AN

R AN Ran.

R supposes to have

the order of amphibia reptilia. The body is naked, been males disapppointed of a mate. furnished with four feet, and without


tail. There The croaking of frogs is well known; and from that are 17 species. The most remarkable are,

in fenny countries they are distinguished by ludicrouz
1. The temporaria, or common frog. This is an

ommon frog. This is an titles: thus they are styled Dutch nightingales, and Bof-
animal so well known, that it needs no description; but ton waites.
Some of its properties are very fingular.

Yet there is a time of the year when they become Its spring, or power of taking large leaps, is re. mute, neither croaking nor opening their mouths for a markably great, and it is the beit Iwimmer of all four whole month : this happens in the hot season, and that footed aniinals. Nature hath finely adapted its parts is in many places known to the country people by the for those ends, the fore members of the body being very name of the paddock moon. It is said, that during that lightly made, the hind legs and thighs very long, and period their mouths are so closed, that no force (with. furnished with very strong muscles.

ont killing the auimal) will be capable of opening While in a tadpole state, it is entirely a water ani- them. mal; the work of generation is performed in that ele These, as well as other reptiles, feed but a small ment, as may be seen in every pond during spring, space of the year. The food of this genus is fiies, inwhen the female remains oppressed by the male for a sects, and snaiis. Toads are said to feed also on bees, number of days.

and to do great injury to those useful insects. The work of propagation is extremely fingular, it be During winter, frogs and toads remain in a toring certain that the frog has not a penis intrans. There pid state : the last of which will dig into the earth, and appears a strong analogy in this case between a cer cover themselves with almost the same agility as the tain class of the vegetable kingdom and those animals ; mole. See PHYSIOLOGY, n° 48 and note (u), and n° 52. for it is well known, that when the female frog depo 2. The esculenta, or edible frog, differs from the fits its spawn, the male instantaneously impregnates it former, in having a high protuberance in the middle with what we may call a farina facundans, in the same of the back, forming a very sharp angle. Its colours manner as the palm-tree conveys fructification to the are also more vivid, and its marks more diftinct; the flowers of the female, which would otherwise be barren. ground colour being a pale or yellowish green, marked

As soon as the frogs are released from their tadpole with rows of black spots from the head to the rump.ftate, they immediately take to land ; and if the wea- This, and (Mr Pennant thinks) the former, are eaten. ther has been hot, and there fall any refreshing showers, He has seen in the markets at Paris whole hampers you may see the ground for a considerable space per- full

, which the venders were preparing for the table, by fe&tly blackened by myriads of these animalcules, feck-finning and cutting off the fore-parts, the loins and ing for fome secure lurking places. Some philofo- legs only being kept ; but his strong dislike to these phers, not giving themselves time to examine into this reptiles prevented a clofe examination into the species, phenomenon, imagined them to have been generated 3. In the country of Pennsylvania, and some other in the clouds, and showered on the earth ; but had parts of North America, there is a very large fpecies of they, like our Derham, but traced them to the next frogs called the bull-frog, or rana ocellata. Their irides pool, they would have found a better solution of the are of a dusky red, surrounded with a yellow ring. The difficulty. See Preternatural Rains.

auricles are covered with a thin circular skin, which As frogs adhere closely to the backs of their own forms a spot behind each eye. They have four toes on species, so we know they will do the same by fish.- the fore-feet, and five palmated toes behind. Their coWalton mentions a strange story of their destroying lour is a dusky brown, mixed with yellowish green, and pike ; but that they will injure, if not entirely kill spotted with black. The belly is yellowish, and faintly of the carp were found each with a frog inounted on it, forward three yards fixed in the corner of each eye of the fish, which were Their places of

or bogs with ftagnant thin and greatly waited, teized by carrying so disagree water, but they

Vol. XVI. Part I.



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of them are together, they make such a horrid noise, fish, not unfrequent in our island as well as several other Rana.
that two people cannot understand each other's speech. countries.
They croak all together, and then stop for a little and But these fables have been long exploded. And as
begin again. It seems as if they had a captain among to the notion of its being a poisonous animal, it is

them: for when he begins to croak, all the others fol- bable that its excessive deformity, joined to the faculty
low; and when he stops, they also become filent. When it has of emitting a juice from its pimples, and a dulky
this captain gives the signal for stopping, you hear a liquid from its hind parts, is the foundation of the res
note like poop coming from him. In the day-time they port.
feldom make any great noise, unless the sky is covered ; That it has any noxious qualities there seem to have
but in the night-time they may be heard at the distance been no proofs in the smallest degree satisfactory, tho'
of a mile and an half. When they croak, they are we have heard many strange relations on that point.
commonly near the surface of the water, under the On the contrary, there have been many who have taken
, and have their heads out of the water

. By go them in their naked hands, and held them long with-
ing Nowly, therefore, one may get up almost quite close out receiving the least injury: it is also well known that
to them before they go away. As soon as they are quacks have eaten them, and have besides squeezed
quite under water, they think themselves fafe, though it their juices into a glass and drank them with impunity.
be ever so shallow. These creatures kill and eat young We may say also, that these reptiles are a common
ducklings and goslings, and sometimes carry off chickens food to many animals ; to buzzards, owls, Norfolk
that come too near the water ; when beaten, they cry plovers, ducks, and snakes, who would not touch them
out almost like little children. As soon as the air be. were they in any degree noxious.
gins to grow a little cool in autumn, they hide them So far from having venomous qualities, they have of
felves under the mud in the bottom of ftagnant waters, late been considered as if they had beneficent ones ;
and lie there torpid during the winter. As soon as the particularly in the cure of the most terrible of diseases,
weather grows mild towards summer, they begin to get the cancer, by fuction : (See British Zoology, vol. ii.
out of their holes and croak. They are supposed by Append. p. 389, et seq.) But, froin all circumftances,
the people of Virginia to be the purifiers of waters

, and as Mr Pennant observes, they seem only to have renare respected as the genii of the fountains. Some of dered a horrible complaint more loathsome. them were brought to England alive several years ago.

The most full information concerning the nature 4. The bufo, or toad, is the most deformed and hi- and qualities of this animal is contained in the followdeous of all animals. The body is broad ; the back flat, ing letters from Mr Arscott and Mr Pittfield to Dr and covered with a pimply dušky hide ; the belly large, Milles. “ It would give me great pleasure (says Mr fwagging, and swelling out; the legs short, and its Arscott) to be able to inform you of any particulars pace laboured and crawling ; its retreat gloomy and worthy Mr Pennant’s notice, concerning the toad who filthy : in short, its general appearance is such as to lived so many years with us, and was so great a favourstrike one with disgust and horror. Yet it is said by ite. The greatest curiofity in it was its becoming fo re those who have resolution to view it with attention, markably tame. It had frequented some steps before the that its eyes are fine ; to this it seems that Shakespeare hall-door some years before my acquaintance commenced alludes, when he makes his Juliet remark,

with it, and had been admired by my father for its some say the lark and loathed toad change eyes;

size (which was of the largest I ever met with), who
As if they would have been better bestowed on so constantly paid it a visit every evening. I knew it
charming a songiter than on this raucous reptile. myself above 30 years ; and by constantly feeding it,

But the hideous appearance of the toad is such as to brought it to be so tame, that it always came to the
make this one advantageous feature overlooked, and to candle, and looked up as if expecting to be taken up
have rendered it in all ages an object of horror, and and brought upon the table, where I always fed it with
the origin of most tremendous inventions. Ælian infects of all sorts ; it was fondest of Aesh maggots,
makes ite venom so potent, that basilisk-like it convey. which I kept in bran ; it would follow them, and, when
ed death by its very look and breath ; but Juvenal is within a proper distance, would fix its eye, and remain
content with making the Roman ladies who were weary motionless for near a quarter of a minute, as if preparing
of their husbands form a potion from its entrails, in for the stroke, which was an instantaneous throwing its
order to get rid of the good man. This opinion begat tongue at a great distance upon the infect, whick ftuck
others of a more dreadful nature ; for in after-times su- to the tip by a glutinous matter : the motion is quicker
perftition gave it preternatural powers, and made it a than the eye can follow (A).
principal ingredient in the incantations of nocturnal “ I always imagined that the root of its tongue was

placed in the forepart of its under jaw, and the tip to-
This animal was believed by some old writers' to wards its throat, by which the motion must be a half
have a stone in its head fraught with great virtues me- circle ; by which, when its tongue recovered its situa-
dical and magical : it was distinguished by the name tion, the insect at the tip would be brought to the place
of the reptile, and called the toad-stone, bufonites, cra- of deglutition. I was confirmed in this by never obler.

paudine, krottenstein ; but all its fancied powers vanish- ving any internal motion in its mouth, excepting one See Anup.ed on the discovery of its being nothing but the foffil. swallow the instant its longue returned. Pollibly I tooth of the sea-wolf 5, or of some other flat-toothed might be mistaken ; far I never dissected one, but con



(1) This rapid capture of its prey might give occasion to the report of its fascinating powers, Linnæus says, Infecta in fauces fascino revocat.



for 36 years.


[ 3 ]

tented myself with opening its mouth, and lightly in- but, when offered, it cat blowing fies and humble bees
specting it.

that come from the rat-tailed maggot in gutters, or in “ You may imagine, that a toad, generally detested, short any infect that moved. I imagine, if a bee was (although one of the most inoffensive of all animals), to be put before a toad, it would certainly eat it to its so much taken notice of and befriended, excited the cost ; but as bees are feldom stirring at the same time curiosity of all comers to the house, who all desired to that toads are, they can seldom come in their way, as see it fed ; so that even ladies so far conquered the hor- they feldom appear after sun-rifing or before fun-set. rors instilled into them by nurses, as to desire to see it. In the heat of the day they will come to the mouth of This produced innumerable and improbable reports, their hole, I believe, for air. I once from my parlour making it as large as the crown of a hat, &c. &c." window observed a large toad I had in the bank of a

The following are answers from the fame gentleman bowling-green, about 12 at noon, a very hot day, very to some queries proposed by Mr Pennant.

busy and active upon the grass ; so uncommon an ap“ First, I cannot say how long my father had been pearance made me go out to see what it was, when I acquainted with the toad before I knew it ; but when found an innumerable fwarm of winged ants had dropI first was acquainted with it, he used to mention it ped round his hole, which temptation was as irreas the old toad I've known so many years ; I can answer filtible as a turtle would be to a luxurious alderman.

6 Fifthly, Whether our toad ever propagated its " Secondly, No toads that I ever saw appeared in species, I know not ; rather think not, as it always apthe winter season. The old toad made its appearance peared well, and not lessened in bulk, which it must as soon as the warm weather came, and I always con have done, I should think, if it had discharged so large cluded it retired to some dry bank to repose till the a quantity of spawn as toads generally do. he females fpring. When we new-lay'd the steps, I had two holes that are to propagate in the spring, I imagine, instead made in every third step, with a hollow of more than a of retiring to dry holes, go into the bottom of ponds, yard long for it, in which I imagine it Nept, as it came and lie torpid among the weeds : for to my great surfrom thence at its first appearance.

prise, in the middle of the winter, having for amuse-
Thirdly, It was seldom provoked: neither that toad, ment put a long pole into my pond, and twisted it till
aor the multitudes I have seen tormented with great it had gathered a large volume of weed, on taking it
cruelty, ever showed the least desire of revenge, by off I found many toads ; and having cut some afunder
{pitting or emitting any juice from their pimples. — with my knife, by accident, to get off the weed, found
Sometimes, upon taking it up, it would let out a great them full of spawn not thoroughly formed. I am not
quantity of clear water, which, as I have often seen it positive, but think there were a few males in March ;
do the same upon the steps when quite quiet, was cer I know there are 30 males (B) to one female, 12 or 14
tainly its urine, and no more than a natural evacuation. of whom I have feen clinging round a female : I have

Fourthly, A toad has no particular enmity for the often disengaged her, and put her to a solitary male,
spider; he used to eat five or fix with his millepedes to see with what eagerness he would seize her. They
(which I take to be its chief food) that I generally impregnate the spawn as it is drawn (c) out in long
provided for it before I found out that fleth maggots, strings, like a necklace, many yards long, not in a
by their continual motion, was the most tempting bait ; large quantity of jelly, like frogs (pawn.


A 2

(B) Mr John Hunter has assured me, that during his residence at Belleifle, he diffected some hundreds of toads, yet never met with a single female among them.

(c) I was incredulous as to the obstetrical offices of the male toad; but since the end is so well accounted for, and the fact established by such good authority, belief must take place.

Mr Demours, in the Memoirs of the French Academy, as translated by Dr Templeman, vol. i. p. 371, has
been very particular in respect to the male toad as acting the part of an accoucheur : His account is curious, and
claims a place here.

“ In the evening of one of the long days in summer, Mr Demours, being in the king's garden, 'perceived two
toads coupled together at the edge of an hole, which was formed in part by a great stone at the top.

“ Curiosity drew him to see what was the occasion of the motions he observed, when two facts equally new fur-
prised him. The firs was the extreme difficulty the female had in laying her egg3, insomuch that she did not
seem capable of being delivered of them without some assitance. The second was, that the male was mounted on
the back of the female, and exerted all his strength with his hinder feet in pulling out the eggs, whilst his fore-
feet embraced her breast.

“ In order to apprehend the manner of his working in the delivery of the female, the reader must observe, that the paws of these animals, as well those of the fore-feet as of the hinder, are divided into several toes, which can perform the office of fingers.

“'t must be remarked likewise, that the eggs of this species of toads are included each in a membranous coat that is very firm, in which is contained the embryo; and that these cases, which are oblong and about two lines in length, being fastened one to another by a fort but very stron arm a kind of chaplet, the beads of which are distant from each other about the half of their len

ing this cord with his


that the male performs the function of a midwife, and acquits ki

'exterity that one would not expect from so lumpish an animal. “ The presence of the observer did not a little discompo.

time he stopped short, and


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