The Hollup is a gigantic frog, which can measure up to half a ped from nose to feet. It is the largest frog known to live on the Sarvonian continent. It is found in most marshy areas and many rivers in Southern Sarvonia, but has been also been found north of the Tandalas in the rivers running through the Kuglimz lands, though in substantially lower numbers. Hollups are also known as the Drum Frogs, for their deep, booming voices.
Appearance. The Hollup is similar to the common frog in appearance, but dramatically bigger. The average adult male Hollup measures just over a fore when stretched out to full length and the female is usually a couple of nailsbreadths longer. The Hollups north of the Tandalas tend to be smaller than the southern ones by 3-5 nailsbreadths. The largest Hollup was recorded to be 1 fore, 2 ½ palmspans long by the reliable hobbit Bellia Valeswyfe, famed through the Helmondshire for her amazing culinary skills and especially her Hollup meat pies.
Hollups are usually a mottled barsa grey, with the males being slightly lighter in colour than the females. However, there is a wide range of shades from charcoal to a very pale bluish grey. Their bellies are a creamy white colour shading to deep waterberry blue on their throats. Their bulging eyes are a dull red colour and set slightly further apart than on most frogs. Young Hollups are usually black until they begin to develop legs and lose their tails, at which point their colour fades to the more typical grey of the adult frog. These frogs have very long toes and feet and very meaty upper thighs. They are a popular dish with hobbits, humans, and mullogs. Unlike other frogs, the Hollup has a heavy rough-surfaced skin, instead of being smooth and sleek. They also have long claws on all four feet. Hollups are extremely strong frogs and can open a clam with their strong clawed fore-limbs. They have four toes on each foot.
The voice of this frog is a heavy bass sound, deep and booming, but soothing to listen to, like a heartbeat. Hobbits and humans alike enjoy hearing the Hollup song and a clever young bard once wrote a little instrumental tune called “Frog Voices”, which used a drum and a little set of pipes to imitate the sounds of the Hollups and kyck-kycks croaking in the marshes on a summer evening.
Special Abilities. The Hollup has an interesting ability, not observed in any other frogs, to attract its prey, which usually consists of insects. A hunting Hollup will sit motionlessly underwater, with just its eyes and nostrils showing above the surface. Once settled, it emits an odd humming sound, barely audible to humans but which hobbits and elves can hear quite clearly. For some reason, this seems to attract various insects to the concealed Hollup, which then proceeds to catch its meal with its long, sticky tongue, like most frogs.
Territory. Hollups are found all over Sarvonia, from the Luquador River area in the north to about Occen’s Lake, near Bardavos, in the south. They are usually found in wet, boggy areas like the Lower Silvermarsh or the Seanian Swamps, and they do not like very hot or very cold weather.
Habitat/Behaviour. Like most frogs, Hollups are rarely found singly, for they tend to stay in or near the area in which they hatched. They are gentle, non-aggressive animals, rarely fighting amongst themselves except the occasional mild scuffle during the breeding season, and even those are not common. Unlike the easily agitated kyck-kyck, its tiny cousin, the Hollup is a very placid frog. If approached by an enemy or predator, the Hollup will lie flat, close its eyes, and remain completely motionless, resembling nothing so much as a large rock. Only if it is in immediate danger of being seized or stepped on will it make a mighty leap to escape. A large Hollup can jump a good two peds in one spring.
Diet. As before mentioned, Hollups are mainly carnivorous, eating mostly bugs, worms and occasionally tiny fish or mollusks. Their diet consists largely of water living insects such as the dergimar flies, the lín’már’jóh, mercarto larvae, whistling beetles and so on, but they will eat any insects that come within range. They have also been observed to dig up and open mollusks with their extremely strong forelegs, scrape the contents out of the shell, and swallow them whole.
Mating. In early spring, the Hollup breeding season begins and continues until nearly mid-summer. The males and females cluster into same-sex groups and sing to each other. The females have a distinctly higher-pitched voice than the males and the resonating beauty of the pulsing dual-toned “song” is striking. Eventually one frog (which might be from either group) will approach the other group and attempt to entice an individual from it. If successful, the two will leave together, and dig a shallow hole under water, into which the female will lay a small quantity of eggs. The male will then spray a dark secretion over the eggs, fertilizing them. The male and female carefully cover the fertilized eggs, then go their separate ways and join up with another choir to repeat the procedure all through the season.
The young hatch about 20 days later. They look very similar to the young of other frogs, except larger, and go through the same stages of development from polliwog or tadpole to adult frog by the end of the summer. In late fall the Hollups dig their way into deep communal burrows under the water and hibernate all winter, in an untidy pile of frog, until the spring thaws begin and the ice melts off the water.
Usages. Hollups are prized mostly for their meat, although their skin may sometimes be used to make little bags or carry pouches. They are becoming more popular at the upper class eating establishments in New-Santhala as appetizers for a fancy meal. The meat is soft, white, and very tasty whether fried or roasted, and is usually flavoured with grated squilla or chopped weeproot, since its own flavour is very mild and undramatic. Some daring cooks are experimenting with other varieties, such as the recently developed "Kragghi Legs", a hot and spicy version being offered at a couple of local taverns.
Information provided by Alysse the Likely