Why Ark: Survival Evolved's best mount is a damn frog

As an Ark player, I'm still new and more than a bit of a disaster. The island of Ark is a dangerous place, and even simple tasks often result in a horrible death. I've been bitten by everything with teeth. I've been poisoned repeatedly. I've fallen off cliffs, drowned, starved, and drowned while starving after falling.

This isn't some heavily populated PvP server I'm on, either. A friend invited me to play on a private server, where the few players around are all extremely friendly. I joined my friend's camp on Herbivore Island, where nothing hurts you unless you hurt it first. And still: death. Death, for me, all the time. That's why it's important to have a trusty mount, and I have a few, mostly gifts from the server admin who has tamed just about every creature in the game. I have a T-Rex, and Argentavis (like a giant eagle), and I even tamed my own (low-level) Megalodon. The Rex can kill anything in its way and the eagle can cruise safely above danger. But I recently found something even better, and it's a damn frog.

The nice thing about riding a giant eagle is you can pick up smaller creatures in the eagle's talons. You can them drop them from great heights (though they don't seem to take fall damage), shred them to ribbons, or carry them somewhere, such as a taming pen like the one we built on our peaceful little island.

I'd already had several misadventures in the Gulch of Lamentation (a swamp whose name should have tipped me off), which is teeming with nasty creatures like Titanoboas (huge snakes) and Sarcos (crocodiles). However, during one of the many, many times I was dying horribly in the swamp, I noticed a multitude of Beezelbufos (big frogs) hopping around, and decided I wanted one as a pet. I returned on the eagle, picked up a pretty white toad, dropped it at our base, punched it unconscious, and stuffed it with raw meat, thus ensuring it would love me forever. I hadn't really planned on riding my frog, but saddling dinos makes them easy to move around in case they get in the way of anything, so I crafted a saddle for her and named her Electra.

Hopping around on Electra was briefly fun and silly, but just seemed like something to do in moments of boredom. She could really leap though, and since every time I venture into the water I seem to get feasted on by angry dino-fish, being able to jump across rivers seemed like it could be useful. So, anytime Electra could be leveled, I put all her points into movement speed. Before long, she was over 400% speed.

Now, her leaps give her some major hangtime. And she's fast. So fast. So fast that when I accidentally let her wander rather than stay where I parked her, I could only catch her when she ran into a boulder and got stuck.

So, when we run into trouble (which is every time we leave our base), we're a half an island away by the time most dinos have even managed to turn around. Nothing can catch us. Nothing can even come close. It's like I'm visiting a zoo. I can look at all the pretty monsters, and none of them can hurt me.

What's more, Electra can eat bugs. What's even more, is that when she eats a bug she harvests cementing paste, which is a craftable item made from stone and either chitin or keratin. Most items in Ark don't take long to craft, but cementing paste seems to take twice as long as everything else, leading to long boring minutes standing at a crafting bench, so having a shortcut is a real blessing. And with her movement speed, I can scour the jungle and swamp for bugs, eat them, and be back home with a pocket full of paste within minutes.

Beyond her usefulness, she has an odd quirk, in that sometimes when I spawn into the game she's not where I left her. I've now found her on my roof, and on top of the taming pen, which is so tall I'm not even sure how she managed to get up there. One time I found her sitting at the bottom of the lagoon. I don't know if there's a glitch with how she spawns, or if she's got a mind of her own when no one is around, but it gives her a bit of a personality.

Mainly, though, it's Electra's speed that makes her supremely useful to me. Everything in Ark scares me, but now I feel confident riding her just about anywhere. Anything comes close, we can just speed off. We've hopped through crowds of dangerous dinos. The swamp, my biggest nightmare, is now a breeze to navigate. And Electra has opened up the ocean, too.

Electra is a great swimmer. She's not as fast as she is on land, but we've yet to encounter anything underwater we can't speed away from. Best of all, swimming doesn't drain her stamina: in fact, if she's exhausted from land-travel, which requires stopping to recharge, we can just head into the water and she'll regain stamina even while swimming.

I'd been trying to locate an underwater cave for a while, by riding my shark while wearing scuba gear (another gift), but caves are guarded by Plesiosaurs that are a little too dangerous for me to tackle with my somewhat wimpy shark. On Electra, we breeze right past, and I finally managed to find the cave.

There's one small drawback: all that fast-hopping means Electra needs food. A lot of food. Noticing her belly was empty during an extended hop-about, I stuffed her full of dead gator meat and she tore through it, consuming about 1 meat per second. She fully consumed a couple bellyfuls of dead dodo before we got home. My girl can eat.

The beezelbufos aren't breedable, unfortunately, or believe me I'd be busy creating a genetic line of superfrogs. Even still, it's hard to imagine a better mount for the cautious or new Ark player. Find a frog, tame it, cram as many points into movement speed as will fit, and nothing on the map will be able to touch you.