Environmental Songbook

The Double Life of Amphibians

By Jenny & David Heitler-Klevans

in Patchwork Planet by Two of a Kind

This song was commissioned by the Detroit Zoological Institute for their new amphibian facility - Amphibiville. We found a lot of fascinating information about amphibians in a book called ³Tracking the Vanishing Frogs² by Kathryn Phillips (Penguin Books), and also from Andy Snider, Herpetology Curator at the Detroit Zoological Institute.



I lead a double life (I lead a double life)

First in the water and then on the land

I lead a double life (I lead a double life)

I am an amphibian.

I’m a cold-blooded creature so I like to stay warm

I’m born in the water and then I transform

Metamorphosis is the name of this change

from gills to lungs, you know my parts rearrange


The very first animals that swam in the sea

adapted to survive, changing gradually.

It took millions of years until they walked on the earth

But this story is re-told with each amphibian birth



[spoken: Who are these amphibians, anyway?]

There’s the Harlequin frog, with its brilliant yellow spots

Caecilians look like worms, and they can tie themselves in knots

The giant salamander can grow up to 5 feet long

and the Narrowmouth Toad sings a wailing song -

(Instrumental of Chorus)

I breathe and I drink through my delicate skin

which may help explain the mess that I’m in

The poisons people put in the water and air

They end up in me, so I get more than my share

(Chorus 2:)

I lead a troubled life (I lead a troubled life)

with pollution in the water, and trash on the land ...

We’re watching the forests go up in smoke

We’re losing our homes and it’s making us croak

So leap to the cause, it’s time to hop to it

If you don’t help out, tell me who’s gonna do it?

(Chorus 3:)

I lead a troubled life (I lead a troubled life)

with boats in the water, and malls on the land ...


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