My inner animal: The leopard frog

The app matches you with the animal that most closely shares your habits and preferences (click here to try it for yourself). Though I’d hoped for something flashy and sexy, like a snow leopard or a blue shark, it turns out my best match is the humble leopard frog. I can make that work: leopard frogs are up late, busying away while others sleep; they sacrifice themselves (not quite willingly, it must be said) for science and education by serving as the prototypical first dissection experience for most students; and they are integral if underappreciated components of temperate ecosystems.
Fitting, as well, since before I found my calling in conservation many years ago, I assumed my career path would be herpetology: the study of reptiles and amphibians. Some of my earliest memories are of traipsing through bogs and marshes looking for snakes, turtles and frogs in Northern Ontario.
The leopard frog is found throughout much of North America but have been declining for decades in many parts of its range, such as BC and Alberta. Scientists aren’t sure why, but it’s probably a combination of many factors working together, like habitat loss, pesticides, acid rain, parasites, and even increased levels of ultraviolet light. Because frogs can be very sensitive to pollutants, they are seen as indicators – that is, if frogs are declining, that means something is wrong that will probably affect other species as well, including our own.
The more I think about it, while not what I expected, I can’t imagine a more appropriate match for my inner animal, given my childhood passions and the leopard frog’s close connection with conservation. Take a moment to test your own match. You might be surprised, and you’ll learn something about wildlife and our natural world – and maybe even about yourself.