The Deafening World of Frogs

Frogs have it easy; they can simply eat what “bugs” them!  My question is how they have any time to eat when all they’re doing is calling!  Each spring, we are delighted with the sounds of the many species of frogs and toads singing their hearts out for mating rights.  This is always a wonderful harbinger of spring but when it’s still going well into May, I’ll be honest; some nights I’ve had my fill when all the windows are closed yet the intense sounds don't seem to go away.

By May, Spring Peepers and Chorus Frogs are still going strong, Tree Frogs have joined in and the melodious trills of American Toads combine to make a sound that can pierce through even the most insulated windows.  The good thing is this tells us we have good habitat for a diverse set of Frog and Toad species.  So what makes for great Frog and Toad habitats?  Generally speaking, Frogs need water and while Toads burrow in moist areas in the ground they spend much more time away from water.  Either way, they all seem to prefer burrows or some sort of ground clutter to be as secretive as possible.  Amphibians are cold-blooded animals so they rely on their surroundings to regulate their temperature.  Frogs can be active in cooler temperatures but have to find protection when the temps dip below freezing.  This begs the question, especially in the mid-west, where do they go in the winter?  Most frog species go into a dormant state either by burrowing into the mud underwater or in the case of toads burrowing in a similar fashion but into woodland soil instead.

Improving habitat, even in tightly clustered neighborhoods, can attract these little bug-lovers.  Creating some sort of toad home is great in environments like this and gives them much-needed shelter, especially during the day.  These homes can also be artsy and add character to any garden (perhaps also a Garden Gnome nearby for protection? =)  In the case of Frogs, water is the key.  Even small decorative ponds attract Frogs.  Adding native plants to your habitat will attract the good insects and insects are what these amphibians are after.  Native plantings are good for a multitude of reasons but when thinking of the food web, they can be the key to a healthy ecosystem rich with a diversity of species.

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