It isn’t easy being green, but it’s good to be red. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

States have a penchant for making unusual things official — artifacts, oysters, fife and drum corps — so a new bill to name an official California state amphibian may not come as much of a shock.

In fact, it serves a noble purpose, according to its sponsor, Democratic Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez. “We just thought it was a great way for students to engage,” Pérez told the Sacramento Bee.

His bill to name the red-legged frog the official state amphibian was the result of an educational exercise: elementary school students in his district identified its connection to the state as part of a project to research California history. The frog allegedly rose to fame as the star of the Mark Twain’s “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” a short story that is celebrated in California to this day.

Twenty states already have such a titleholder, but California would be the first to make the red-legged frog, scientifically identified as rana draytonii, according to a review of a list maintained by (There’s already some duplication, apparently: Ohio and South Carolina both claim the spotted salamander; Georgia and Louisiana claim the Green treefrog.)

Read more:

Slippery stuff: California bill would enshrine state amphibian

A list of state amphibians