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Outdoors: Being a Green Frog

During the title credits of the Muppet Movie, we first see a bog, hear the plunking sound of banjo, and finally see a green frog named Kermit who is singing about rainbows.

An Easter Egg or a coincidence?

You see, the call of a Green Frog is a twangy "gunk" that sounds just like a plunking banjo.

We know that Kermit is a Green Frog, because he sings that it is not easy being green.

But a Green Frog (yes, it is a species) despite the name, is not always green.

Its skin is made up of pigment-containing cells called chromatophores, which enable the frog to change color

It’s complicated, but essentially, if a Green Frog sits on a cool object such as a lily pad, the chromatophores spread out and the frog appears to be green.

Exposed to a warm object, say, a nice sun-soaked log, the chromatophores contract, and the frog appears sort of brown.

This adaptation is advantageous in a watery setting like a bog because green things tend to be cooler than brown things.

Kermit tells us that “rainbows have nothing to hide,” but Green Frogs do.

As Kermit explains, if you are green, ”It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things. And people tend to pass you over 'cause you're not standing out like flashy sparkles in the in the water, or stars in the sky.”

Being green is fine.

"Outdoors with Coggin Heeringa" can be heard every Wednesday on Classical IPR.