Friday, March 27, 2009

Peepers and Toads.

Finding that getting older has its advantages and disadvantages! First the advantage is I just came back from the eye doctor today and she says my nearsightedness is improving. My sight have improved by 5 notches in the past 6-7 years. The disadvantage is my bones and joints seem to ache more everyday, today my back was and is killing me, hopefully it’ll pass by tomorrow.

Before I launch into this posting on frogs and toads I wanted to point you towards Sharna’s blog, she is Meg’s daughter who is a roving biologist. She has experienced more nature than most of us will ever and she’d not even thirty yet. Right now she is in Yosemite working for the National Park Service studying the Great Gray Owl. This study requires her group to snowshoe up into the forest at night and look for and track these owls. Other jobs she's had included capturing and banding hawks on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and doing Monarch butterfly surveys. She caught a Bald Eagle, the second ever in nearly 30 years of banding there. Also she has spent 6 months in Belize banding birds,, these are just some of her jobs. Her blog is called Where You At Fool?

Spring Peepers mating and swimming together.

Male Spring Peeper calling for the lady Peepers.

Spring Peeper with the X on the back makes an easy ID. The peeping call is even easier to ID them with.

We have been experiencing rain now for two and a half days. The pond is filling up and the Spring Peepers, Pseudacris crucifer are and have been going nuts! The frog concert levels have at times reached a level of ten on a scale of ten, mostly eights and nines though. The rain is good news for the garden, clover and grass seed I planted weeks ago.

Enjoy these photos I have taken here over the years at our pond.

Not sure is this is a peeper juvenile or not, but the tail indicates it has just came out of the pond. It was late summer FYI.

First love can you believe that?

Still with a tail looking so new to being out of the water for the first time!

Next to arrive and call will be American Toads. These toads will find shallow puddles and wet low spots to lay their strings of eggs, the egg masses look like tiny black curled up strings of pearls. American Toads are hard to tell apart form the Fowler’s Toad by eye. But telling them apart by call is easy, Americans have a shrill like call and Fowler’s sound like sheep calling baa baa baa.

Mated toads, the larger one is the females, males can be half the size of the female!

Notice in the above photo the black beads in the water those are the egg strings! Those are males trying their best to get to a female. On this day there were maybe 25 males in the pond and only a couple of females. Right now the pond is too deep for toads to lay eggs so they will be down at the bottom land laying eggs.

Full blown calling of a male!

One of my favorite photos, The boys hanging out!

Do you know how to tell toads from frogs? Frogs leap and toads hop. Toads like American and Fowler's Toad only enter water during breeding season. Once I visited a fishing pond in Caswell County, over 200 mated toads in the pond, it was amazing. Out of about twenty fisher every last one of them thought their were a lot of frogs in the pond that day, not a single one knew they were toads. I was looked at as crazy when I told most of them they were toads....

On a future post I'll have Gray Treefrogs, they do look like toads. Treefrogs have suction cup toe pads, they include Chorus Frogs and Spring Peepers if you did not know.

Gray Treefrog notice the yellow/orange under the hind legs.


tina said...

So cool! I love the peepers. You took some great photos.

Chandramouli S said...

Wonderful insight into the world of Peepers, Randy. The male frog with that ballooned gland makes the look funny [giggling]. Great post!

gardenerprogress/Catherine said...

As usual, amazing photos!

macGardens said...

This is really informative. Keep it up! I would love to have some water on the property...

Anonymous said...

I have to laugh. As I'm reading your post, I can hear the chorus of croaking outside. We've got two ponds and frogs live in both and croak back and forth. It actually rattles my eardrums if I'm too close. But you've gotta love them. :)

sweet bay said...

Great pictures. We have tons of peepers and other frogs here. I've seen exactly one peeper. They are so good at hiding.

I will have to check out Sharna's blog. I used to work at an ornithology lab at Duke and knew people who had studied birds in Belize and other tropical locales. It's fascinating work.

Randy Emmitt said...

Thanks for commenting on my posts, I much appreciate it.


All male frogs and toads as far as I know expand their throats to make their calls. You have to go out at night with lights to see it usually after a rain is best.

Blue Fox said...

I'm anxious to see if I have any peepers this year - I saw two in my pond last fall. I still have to wait until the two feet of snow melts, and the ice thaws...sigh...

Meems said...

Hi Randy,
Great photos and I really enjoy the information you provide.

Was pulling out some radishes this morning and a toad was buried in the edges... always startles me since I don't see them until I'm nose to nose with them. Hope it was eating all the slugs.

Love the sounds of the peepers... I used to be so scared of those gray treefrogs... so creepy looking. Now that I know how all the ecosystem works together I do my best not to be so jittery.
Meems @ Hoe and Shovel

beckie said...

Randy, such great photos! I have learned more about toads and frogs thanks to your post. All the while I was reading it, I thought of Monica at

she is participating in a frog and toad count. You two should get together and compare notes. :)

Shady Gardener said...

Amazing photographs! The sound of the spring peepers (all of the different kinds!) is a thrill, isn't it? Thanks for providing such a great post! :-)

CiNdEe said...

We have a ton of frogs and toads croaking out here too.
I enjoyed all the frog pictures(-:
CiNdEeS' GaRdEn

Anonymous said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.