If you happen to visit Puerto Rico, you will quickly learn about “La rana coquí”. During sunset, the air fills with a beautiful song, but don’t think that what you are hearing is a bird, because is not! It is a frog! A frog from Puerto Rico that is really small, approximately the size of a fingernail. It’s called a “coquí” because of the sound it makes, co-qui (ko-kee). Only the males sing, not the females. I can imagine the first settlers having trouble figuring out where that beautiful sound was coming from, and never could have guessed that it could come out of such a small creature.
Coquíes eat insects that are close enough catch. They don’t have webbed feet, so they don’t swim very well, but they can climb trees. Yes, they climb trees! Since they hide in the trees and bushes, the sound comes from all around you, but you can’t see the frog most of the time. Also, they aren’t born as tadpoles, like many other frogs are. They hatch from their eggs as fully formed frogs!
Another cool thing about the coquí is that people can use them as an alarm clock. The sugar cane workers use the frog’s croaks to know that they finished a hard day of work, since the coquí always start singing at dusk. They stop singing at dawn, and return to their nests during the day, so it’s like one loud all-night lullaby.
I was taking a nap the first time I heard one. It scared me at first because I wasn’t expecting such a loud sound. It sounded like it was right on top of me, but I couldn’t find where the sound was coming from. It’s like a cricket at my grandmother’s house in the country. We would always hear them, but could never see them. Well imagine my surprise when I saw this itty-bitty frog with a great big voice. I called my mom and told her all about it. She laughed at me because she remembered the coquí when she stopped at Puerto Rico on her cruise last year. Why didn’t she warn me?
It has been said that if you take a coquí out of Puerto Rico, it will die. There go my hopes of having a pet coquí. I hope on your next visit to Puerto Rico, you can see (or at least HEAR) a coquí!Read More...