Good Morning Watershed Explorers,
I know this may be surprising to some of you, but my favorite animals on the planet are amphibians. I secretly love those little wet, slimy creatures with all of my being. You may find this even harder to believe, but I also find them absolutely adorable.
It was the smallest frog in Rhode Island that actually inspired this blog, and also kept me up last night. That frog is the spring peeper. Spring peepers are a very tiny (only 1.5 inches to be exact) tree frog that likes to cling to tall grasses and reeds in ponds, marshes and wetland areas. Spring peepers are one of the first signs of spring with their little peep peep noises that can be heard in wet areas all around the state. You may have even heard them yourself and not even realized that it was a tiny little frog making that noise. The other frogs that are adding their calls to the mix right now are the wood frogs. I took this video a few nights ago near the retention pond that we have in our backyard. Take a listen and see what you think these frogs sound like!
A neat fact about frogs and toads is that usually only the males make calls. They have a vocal sac that is a special membrane of skin that allows them to create a specific sound. Each species has their own distinct call. These sounds are primarily used for mating.
Amphibians are indicator species which means that they can tell scientists about the health of local environments, because of this many amphibian conservation groups have created citizen monitoring programs for volunteers who care about amphibians. These volunteers go out on spring nights and record the calls they hear so the amphibian groups know which frogs and toads are present in certain areas. If you are interested in volunteering, check out this website https://www.aza.org/frogwatch This is a great program to be involved with and a great way to give something back to a species that does a lot for us! Think of all the pesky mosquitos and flies they eat!
Here is an activity you can do to learn the different species of Rhode Island frogs! It was created by a wonderful educator Melissa Guillet. She runs a great website with lots of fun outdoor activities that you can visit by using this link http://15minutefieldtrips.blogspot.com/ I encourage you to do some research to find out what frogs these are, but if you need help, please email me and I can provide the answers. Notice how I said frogs, and there is one toad on this page, this is because all toads are frogs!
I hope that you will have some fun learning about these wonderful critters and possibly even get out later today to see if you can hear them in your neighborhood.
I didn't write about salamanders or newts in this post, but they are amphibians too! These elusive amphibians do not make noise, so you have to use your eyes to find them hidden in leaves, mulch, or under dead wood. Happy Hunting!
Missing you all,