Meet Bully the bullfrog

Being a  piscean has always kept the fish alive in my life. I used to maintain an aquarium since I was a kid. Some of my favorite fresh water fish were Guppies, Swordfish, Platy, Black Molly and Blue Gourami. A few years ago I fell in love with Koi and Comet Goldfish and loved how you can train these beauties to feed from your hand. So I spend a weekend, dug up an ugly looking pond in my backyard, got a pond lining from Amazon, and hit Brock's farm in Coltsneck, NJ to get some fish, plants, snails and pond pump. 

I lost the first lot of my fish to predating birds. Got more fish, and lost em to Hurricane Irene couple of years ago. However, before that happened, the fish had spawned and laid eggs. In no time, I had hundreds of fry and I took most of em inside the house, and setup a few aquariums. Once they got big enough and got their color, I released them back in my pond. 

I am pretty ok, with managing biological relationships (at least I think I am), so once I had a balanced pond with water quality being good and healthy, enough plants, snails and filterations, I could see mosquitoes enjoying my pond more than me. Mosquitoes lay eggs in water bodies. I thought my fish would eat those, but that didn't happen. The fish just preferred fish food over mosquito larvae. So I thought frogs might be good, as they go after small insects. And found 6 tadpoles in a shop. I got those and put them in the pond. Little did I know, those were bullfrog tadpoles who grew into huge frogs.

I relocated 2 of those far far away, but one never showed himself, till he became so big that he started eating my fish, and small birds that came close to the pond to drink water or collect dry grass for nesting. My daughter named him, Bully.


Bully the Bullfrog


I spent a long time trying to catch him, but he was an escape artist like snakes. The moment I would step out in the backyard, Bully jumped into the pond, and despite searching the pond thoroughly, would be nowhere to be found.

Then, thanks to some bloggers who hunt bullfrog for food, had posted a very simple trick. They use high power flashlights to blind the frog and while it couldn't see them, capture it with a fishing net. That's exactly what I did and it worked. Kept Bully in a box overnight, and took it out for a quick photoshoot before relocating it to a friend's pond, where bullfrogs were welcome. 

We really enjoyed watching Bully in action while it hunted bees, flies, crickets, spiders and other insects, but the sight of it eating my fish, and the small nesting birds was not very nice. So with Bully out of the pond now, I see my fish feeling more comfortable and coming back to the surface more often than they did when Bully was bullying them around.

Bullfrog Fact:

  • Bullfrogs never sleep. 
  • They eat whatever moves and can fit into their mouth.
  • They even eat other bullfrogs.
  • They can stalk birds like a lion stalking it's prey
  • and they make great photography subjects because when they sense someone around, they try to not move. Hence the picture above.

The picture above was taking using a Canon 5D Mark III, and a Tamron 28-300 F/3.5-6.3 Di lens. No flash was used. 

Some tips for taking pictures of bullfrogs:

  • Bullfrogs like a hiding spot. So when you take one out for a photoshoot, take a black cloth and keep it close. When you feel the frog is trying to run, throw the cloth on it's way and it will hide under it.
  • Keep the frog wet and cold as they don't like heat and dryness. 
  • Give it some time to settle down before going for the pictures.
  • I found that lying down on the ground, in front of the frog made it stop moving and stare at the camera. It probably was taking it's time to judge the danger of someone being right in front of it.
  • If you plan to shoot for long, give it frequent breaks in box / jar with water so it can calm down and relax.
  • Always be very careful not to hurt the animal. These are excellent creatures and very beneficial as they eat annoying insects.
  • If you must feed it, get crickets from a local pet store as they love crickets.

Hope you enjoyed this article. Please share this with other nature photographers, and make sure you leave a comment below.