Even frogs sometimes have frogs in their throats.

Around midday on 24 February, a woman in her 20s was visiting Senju Kannondo, a temple dedicated to the goddess of mercy that’s nestled between the Sai River and foot of Mt. Kubote in Buzen, Fukuoka Prefecture. While enjoying the serenity of the area, she heard the faint sound of a dog barking.

▼ Senju Kannon in Buzen

The sound led her to a crack in the mountain wall behind the temple’s worship hall where spring water dripped out. She was unable to see anything but could distinctly hear sounds like “grrrr,” “yip yip,” and “woof.” Fearing that an animal was trapped she placed a call to Japan’s emergency number, 110.

Two officers rushed to the scene and searched around but were unable to find any dog. However, all three could distinctly hear a dog barking somewhere very close. Just then a local in his 50s passed by and told them matter-of-factly that “It’s probably those barking frogs.” He then left the trio who were feeling stunned and slightly embarrassed.

Sure enough, there is such a creature called the Tago frog, also known as “Tago’s brown frog,” after Japanese zoologist Katsuya Tago, which is endemic to Japan and inhabits mountainous areas. By all accounts they resemble your average frog, measuring three to four centimeters (1.2 to 1.6 inches) in length, but when mating season comes between February and April the males “bark” and growl just like dogs in order to attract females.

▼ Have a listen.

It seemed most urban dwelling people who read the news also had to check what these frogs sound like and hear it for themselves.

“I checked a website with Tago frog calls and, yeah, they sound like dogs.”
“I saw the story on TV, and the host cracked up when she heard how the frogs sound.”
“Tago frogs usually hide so you can hear them but not see them. I never heard them during mating season though.”
“Ah the frogs are barking. It must be spring…”

Some people on Twitter also shared their run-ins with Tago frogs to give us a very good idea of what the woman and officers were experiencing on that fateful day.

“Today I was walking at the bottom of the mountain. The Tago frogs are here and there, so is it spring already? I can hear them calling. The fun season is almost here.”

So, if you’re out in the Japanese mountains and hear what sounds like a dog trapped in the rocks, it might actually be just the sound of sweet frog love in full bloom… But maybe look into it anyway, because there could very well be a dog trapped in the rocks too.

Source: Nishi Nippon Shimbun
Top image: YouTube/popos077
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