Frogs are filling the air with their loud croaking, marking the start of breeding season in the Southeast.
“The frogs that I’m hearing right now are spring peepers, boreal chorus frogs and also wood frogs,” says Norm Gregiore, Species at Risk community liaison with Tall Grass Prairie Preserve in Tolstoi.
He says the frogs are loudest when the males are trying to get the attention of the females, but they also make a lot of noise later in the year as they try to establish their territory.
Wood frogs are the most northerly frog in the world, says Gregoire, and probably the most common. He notes these frogs are quite interesting because they contain an agent that allows them to freeze solid during the winter and thaw back to life in spring.
“Let’s say it was -40 outside and you were going to find one of these wood frogs, bring it into your house, it would actually come alive right in front of you,” he says. “They rely on that warm weather to sort of get the blood flowing, for lack of a better word.”
The Northern Leopard Frog, the largest frog in our area, is a species at risk.
While population trends are showing the species is making a comeback in Manitoba, Gregiore says they are still at risk.
“Reptiles, amphibians, they're susceptible to a lot of different things like chemicals and things like that. Especially those amphibians, they absorb a lot through the through their skin.”
Gregoire says habitat loss also impacts frog populations with many wetlands being drained.
We can support the frog population by delaying spring yard work.
“I try not to do much of a spring clean-up in my yard, leave that leaf litter down, try not to cut the grass or push cutting the grass back as long as possible, because that lets out a lot of insects that are actually lying dormant, they need warmer weather. And you know of course frogs rely on insects.”
Boreal chorus frogs eat a variety of small invertebrates, especially beetles, flies, crickets, grasshoppers, ants, and spiders.
-With files from Carly Koop