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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Will the barking tree frog become Florida's official state amphibian?

26

April

For the third time this session, senators considered the fate of the barking tree frog as a state symbol. And for the third time, they unanimously agreed that Florida should be the first state to boast an official amphibian.

"Ribbit!" said Sen. Garrett Richter, R-Naples, in a signal of his approval during the Senate Rules Committee on Tuesday.

The barking tree frog is a pleasant creature, both in color and disposition, said the sponsor of SB 502, Sen. Steve Oelrich, R-Gainesville. It landed the cover of "Florida's Fabulous Reptiles and Amphibians." The barking tree frog is also easier to hold than other frogs and toads, he said.

"And it does not cause warts," he said.

At its last committee stop, Oelrich's aide played a recording of the frog's barks, drawing uncontrollable giggles from Sen. Gary Siplin, D-Orlando.

The House companion, HB 645, has not been heard in committee.

Here's a description of the frog from the bill analysis: Because of their specially developed foot pads, Barking Tree Frogs spend the majority of their time  climbing trees and the walls of aquariums, but they can also be found burrowing under tree roots. The color of the Barking Tree Frog varies  greatly: from lime green to brown with some yellow and gold coloring on its throat, belly, and inside its hind legs. The Barking Tree Frog gets  its name from the low-pitch noise it makes during the rainy season,  which sounds similar to a dog's bark, or even a honking goose. This sound is only made by the males in the species.

[Last modified: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 3:13pm]

    

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