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FROG RAIN
by Phillis Gershator

    When it rains a lot, people like to say, "It's raining cats and dogs," even though cats and dogs aren't really falling from the sky.
    On the island of Puerto Rico, when people say, "It's raining frogs," it really is raining frogs.
    Early in the morning, tiny one-inch frogs called coquνs jump from the trees. They fall to the ground with a rainy plop, plop.
    Why do the frogs climb up into the trees? And why do they jump down?

Coquν

    About the time children get ready for bed at night, the coquν
hops out of its nesting spot. It calls, "Ko kee-kee-kee, ko-ko-kee-kee," and climbs into a tree. High up in the branches, the coquν can find all kinds of insects to eat, more insects than it can find on the ground.
    After the coquν eats, it doesn't climb down the way it climbed up. Instead, it spreads its padded fingers and toes––and jumps.

    Coquνs don't glide like flying frogs, who have thin bodies and big webbed feet. Coquνs drop almost straight down, like rain, while they turn slowly in the air. Scientists call it "parachuting."


    What a quick trip! And what a good way to escape from pearly-eyed thrashers, little Puerto Rican owls, and huge spiders, who'd like nothing better than to eat a coquν for breakfast.

    Coquνs can't stay up in the trees in the daytime. The treetops are too hot and dry, which is good for insects but not frogs. Frogs need water.
    But coquνs don't drink water. Once they plot to the ground, they lie flat on the wet leaves and moss and soak up the water
through the skin of their bellies. Coquνs also need cool, damp, and shady places to lay their eggs. When the eggs hatch, out come froglets the size of flies. And a new batch of coquνs grows up to climb and jump and sing.

    In the evening, it's "Ko-kee, ko-kee"––a Puerto Rican lullaby.
    In the morning, it's plop, plop, plop––a rain of frogs!


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First published in Ladybug, the Magazine for Young Children
(Carus Publishing Co., April 2013),
© 2013 by Phillis Gershator
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Click this picture to find out about Seρor Coquν's cousin,
a voiceless frog:

Lenty