Posted by Miqe on August 3, 2007
People hopping to Museum of Natural History to see exhibit
The terrible dart frog produces a poison so toxic that if it entered your skin via a tiny scratch or cut, you would be dead within minutes.
Moreover, the coloration of the terrible dart frog (Phyllobates terribilis), which is found in Colombia, makes it stand out from its surroundings and serves as a warning to predators to give it a wide berth.
Such tidbits come courtesy of the Audubon Nature Institute of New Orleans, which has its Toadally Frogs exhibit on display at the Utah Museum of Natural History.
Tim Lee, exhibits designer for the museum, says the New Orleans-based institute suffered a tremendous loss from Hurricane Katrina.
“They are just starting to get back on their feet, and we wanted to partner with them on this exhibit to show our support,” Lee says. “Many of our exhibits include taxidermy and things that have been dead for a long time. We were excited for the opportunity to acquire this amazing show of live animals.”
The exhibit features a variety of living amphibians – 70 frogs and toads representing 20 species that are comfortably housed in terrariums suited to their special needs. Information and activities at the museum are aimed at separating frog fact from fiction and are geared toward visitors of all ages.
Besides offering insight about frogs, the exhibit imparts a message about conservation. Ben Chan, a University of Utah graduate student in biology who researches frogs, says about 120 species of frogs have become extinct since 1980 and one-third of the world’s remaining species are in decline.
“Frogs are an amazing indicator of the health of our environment,” Chan says. “They are in trouble from things like disease, habitat loss, climate changes and over-collecting for the pet trade. The take-home message [of the exhibit] is that frogs are hurting from damage being caused by humans, but that can change if we change.”
Mary McDermott, a staff member at the museum, says the exhibit affords people with the opportunity to see some very unusual amphibians.
“Most people will probably never have another chance to see frogs like these,” McDermott says.
That might explain why visitors are flocking to the museum in record numbers since the exhibit opened.
“We had 1,100 people on opening day, and on the first free Monday there were 2,000 people,” says museum spokesman Darrell Kirby. “This is a fun exhibit.”
* WHAT: Toadally Frogs exhibit
* WHERE: Utah Museum of Natural History, 1390 E. Presidents Circle
* WHEN: Ends Sept. 3. The exhibit is open 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
* For more information, call 801-581-6927, or visit http://www.umnh.utah.edu.
* Some evidence suggests frogs have roamed the Earth for more than 200 million years.
* There are 4,900 species of frogs worldwide; 15 in Utah.
* A group of frogs is called an army.
* The term “ranidaphobia” means a fear of frogs.
* Rosie the Ribiter holds the world record for the longest frog jump – 21 feet 5 inches, set in 1986. The long jump record for humans is 29 feet 4 1/2 inches.
Source: Audubon Nature Institute of New Orleans
From Salt Lake Tribune