Amphibians

A New Season To Croak About!

So we are all set for a weekend at the cottage next weekend and I can’t wait!  My husband has been busy working on toilet 2.0, but that won’t be installed until later.  Next weekend the project is dock.  We have bought some special dock legs to help us level the new dock.  We still need to buy the wood, but we have done the calculations and know how much we need to buy.  I am sure we will forget things and there will be a few runs to the hardware store, but plans are underway and we are excited!

We are a little apprehensive about how we will get on driving across the field.  I can see many trips on foot, but given we need about 40 planks of wood, that might take some time!

I am so looking forward to all the things that are different at the cottage – the things we just don’t experience here.  I know the geese will be back, but I am not sure about other critters, like frogs.

I love hearing the frogs croaking at the cottage. They are really noisy at times, but I enjoy hearing them because I don’t hear them at home, so it feels like a treat.

Frog

I thought we had lots of Bullfrogs at the cottage, but it turns out they are Green Frogs.

Frog.jpg

Green Frogs are very similar to Bullfrogs, but they have two folds of skin that run partly down the back, which Bullfrogs don’t have. Green frogs are not only green, they can be bronze, brown, blue or a combination of colours, but typically they have green on their upper lip. They have a white belly, although it sometimes has a yellow tinge.

Frog.jpg

There are thirteen different frogs and toads found in Ontario, but we have only seen three so far.

Frog.jpg

I think this is a just a green frog, but with all those spots I was hoping it was a Northern Leopard Frog.

Tree frog

I was very excited to find a Gray Treefrog. It is rare to see them outside their breeding season (late spring – early summer), because they hide in tree holes when they are not active and will climb to the top of even the tallest trees.

Tree frog in shed

Our resident Gray Treefrog doesn’t seem to mind that this “tree hole” is plastic. Hiding in the hinge of our storage half-shed isn’t perhaps the ideal location, but we now know to be careful as we open and close it.

100_0598

There are only two species of toads in Ontario, the American Toad and Fowler’s Toad. They look very similar and I read that the way to distinguish them is by counting how many bumps are in each large dark blotch on the back. Fowler’s Toads have three or four bumps per blotch, whereas American Toads have one or two. The two species can hybridize, which makes identification even more difficult, but I found telling the two apart unclear even with good images. I have little hope of identification with my poor phone camera image and I am not sure that I will do any better should I find another toad this year.

Apparently frogs have “dialects” and “accents” and can identify the croaks of their “friends”. Scientists found that male frogs would be indifferent to familiar voices, but react aggressively to unfamiliar voices.   Female frogs are not totally silent. They do have a protest call, but it is quiet and you would not hear it above the male chorus every night. I like the idea that croaks are basically love serenades. How lovely to have a male voice choir sing to you every night!  Lets hope that next weekend I get to enjoy such a serenade!

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