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Coleman Frog

The Coleman frog is an unusually large species of frog allegedly living in the wetlands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence lowland forests in New Brunswick and New England, especially near Fredericton and Wilmington, Massachusetts. It is described as resembling a bullfrog, but significantly larger, at 27 inches long and 42 pounds. In comparison, the largest American bullfrog caught was 2 pounds. Although there has been Indigenous folklore of giant frogs in the area called Aglebemu, the Coleman frog was first reported by European locals in the mid 1800s, and was usually not taken very seriously as a real animal by outsiders. The only evidence of its existence is an allegedly stuffed specimen now kept at the York-Sunbury museum. The owner of the Barker House Hotel, Fred Coleman, in 1880, was fishing on Killerney Lake, north of Fredericton, when one of these frogs hopped into his canoe. Fred Coleman apparently gave the frog whey mixed with whisky, which it ate and became incapacitated. Coleman then took the frog to his hotel as a pet, which was regularly abused by patrons who would burn it by stubbing their cigars out on the frog. When the frog died, presumably from the burns, it was stuffed and taxidermized.

This story was forgotten until 1950 when Coleman's great grandchild found the frog in the family’s attic. He then donated the frog to the Canadian Conservation Institute to study it and repair the burn marks. They did not determine whether it was real, but the general consensus was it was fake. The museum where the frog is kept has not allowed DNA testing, supposedly in fear of damaging it. Herpetologist Tim Andrew has analyzed the stuffed Coleman frog specimen for 13 years and has concluded it is a real unknown species, although most other scientists disagree. The last sighting of a Coleman frog was in the late 90’s, when a family claimed their daughter caught a five pound bullfrog, which is nowhere near 42 pounds, but is more then twice the weight of the largest known bullfrog.

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