frog porn: the calls (and caresses) of the wild

wood frog pornLOVE IS IN THE AIR, BABY. FROG LOVE. My backyard is alive with the sounds, and sights, of the start of mating season, with a pair of wood frogs (above) leading the way. I’m trying to train my ear to tease apart who’s who in the cacophonous ensemble out back, and I got some help (thank you, internet!) from Dylan Cebulske of Illinois, a.k.a. “Herping With Dylan,” including this amazing video of his:

Now before you go thinking dirty thoughts about my wood frog friends up top, who by the way quack like ducks to my ear, know this:

They are simply engaged in amplexus (doesn’t that sound tame and scientific?), in which the male (in this species the smaller frog) clasps the larger female around the back. This goes on for some time, and they don’t seem to be one bit shy. The embrace began right out at poolside, where 15 other frogs were sunning themselves, including the few in the background of the photo below, before the happy couple retreated into the shrubbery onto a bed of pine needles.

wood frog porn 3

Everyone’s feeling frisky. The two bullfrogs who overwintered in one of my pools split Saturday night under cover of a giant rainstorm, as they do every year about this time, seeking a bigger body of water for breeding. My prediction: They’ll be back, on a wet fall night.

Other Frog Adventures

 

37 comments
April 18, 2011

comments

  1. Mary Farrand says

    My favorite sound of the weather warming is the sounds that frogs make, mating or otherwise….just another prelude to warmer weather,,,Yeahhhh!!!

  2. says

    What a great video! It’s interesting to put a picture with all the sounds you hear in the spring. They are funny little creatures, aren’t they?

  3. Marie says

    Hey Margaret! Thanks for posting this. What fun! I’ve always wondered what the different frogs looked and sounded like. It is hard to differentiate individuals in the chorus. I am always amazed that they start up so early in the year, when it is still so cold! You always have something interesting to share with us. I appreciate you!

  4. says

    No frogs in my backyard, but there is a lot of avian hanky-panky going on! The females all play hard to get, but that does not discourage the males as they puff and strut. The cardinals are my favorites, as they look like they are kissing.

  5. says

    Hi Margaret: Thanks for sharing. Lots of frogs here we have not tried recording the sounds or gone looking for frogs. You have inspired another activity for us this spring.

    Have a wonderful day,
    John

  6. says

    Hi Margaret – Looks like everyone is looking for love this time of year. Can’t say as I blame them! Very interesting video – the spring peepers are in full swing here in PA.

    Happy Spring,
    Donna

    • says

      Welcome, Contrary Wife. Yes, the peepers are wild, too, and the wood frogs…with the greens and bulls to join the racket once the weather warms a bit more. Love it.

  7. jean says

    Thanks for sharing this video. Over the years I have tried to find the peepers who are singing madly, but whenever I approach silence falls. I guess I have not been patient enough.

  8. TomW says

    Hi Margaret, I would love to hear your frogs. Any chance you could record them and put up a sound file link on your blog?

    I have green frogs sometimes but don’t know what kind they are. They love to sit inside of the cold frame. Sometimes they will croak but dang if I could ever find one in song.

    We always know when Spring is getting closer because of the frog songs coming up from the ravine some distance below us.

  9. alice schrade says

    You think your pic is the best I have a older one from the 70’s that my son took of two brownish frogs in the same position. Wish I could send it to you. i have no idea why i kept it, it’s very personal. Poor froggies, being so exposed in their intimate moments.

    • says

      Welcome, Alice. I know: so exposed. I try to stay far enough away with a long-ish lens so not to really pester them. I understand about the sentimentality of the photo you describe; I have some treasured favorites like that.

      Welcome, AltheiaFae. The video is brilliant, as is its creator, Dylan. Wish I could meet him…my new hero!

      See you both soon again, I hope.

  10. barbara says

    hi margaret,
    this made my day!! i have always wanted to know what the spring peepers looked like! finally my request was answered by the wonderful video…thanks so much for sharing!!
    i love hearing that sound when it starts every year, knowing that spring will then be sproinging soon!!

  11. Ellen Zerkin says

    Tomorrow we leave Brooklyn for 5 days in Woodstock. Can’t wait to hear the chorus of spring peepers. In the meantime, the video was delightful. Thanks, Margaret (and Dylan)!

  12. Irene says

    Loved the video, can’t wait to share it with my two grandsons and my daughter. We love the early spring sound of the peepers, it’s the sweetest sound. Thank you Dylan for making the recordings,you have such patience and dedication. Looking forward to your next one. Margaret, thank you for bringing this to us, it was such fun.

    • says

      Welcome, Irene. I was so happy to find Dylan’s work; am digging into his archives to watch more each day; fascinating. Hope to see you again soon, and hope your family enjoys the video.

    • says

      Welcome, Elaine. Yes, the peepers seal the deal…even if the weather here is still not saying spring in a loud voice, the peepers are. Love them.

    • says

      Welcome, Dona M. Noisemakers, indeed. Love them so. Nobody’s out at poolside this windy, cold day (where is spring?????) but I bet that by this evening the littlest guys will be talking up a storm. See you soon.

  13. Lorie says

    What a glorious “intervention” during three days of rain. Even my little Otis dog was charmed. I hope Dylan is aware of how many lives he is touching. Thanks for providing this frog’s eye view of a world we don’t often get to see or hear.

  14. fran schulenberg says

    margaret
    this was amazing. I was struck by the fact that this is a primary interest for me now, but would never have been even ten years ago! One of the pleasures of life for me is listening to frogs in my pond ‘sing’ to me in the early evening. As the season progresses, the operatic company moves on to a different venue, and my pond is once again silent. I love my frog boys and if there is anything I can do to keep the opera going, I will be willing to try.

  15. Daisy Marshall says

    Did I ever enjoy this symphony! There are lots of those those big bull frogs on the grounds of my apt. building right on the interscoastal waterways of south Fla. Not uncommon to see them right at my front door (talk about scared!) Well, scared no more, after this intimate encounter with the lovely creatures in the video. Ah! Nature! Thank you Margaret, picking up your book at B&N was one of those gifts that keeps on giving. Daisy Marshall. And thank you Dylan!

  16. Daisy Marshall says

    The gift of Surprise (quoted from Mark Nepo’s book of awakening April 21) “it seems that any moment of interest or pain or adversity can surprise us into the larger reality of life.” I’m speaking of my interest in your book as I picked it up thinking it would be of help in my delayed decision to retire from my present long time position. Well, that it has, but,all of a sudden frogs no longer scare me and in yesterday’s walk around the perimeter, I crossed a small bridge I’d never crossed before and I notice how different things looked from the other side plus as I rounded the pond Alas! there was the manatee family I’ve been looking for for months. As Mark quotes from another writer “another name for God is surprise”. How many times have I said thank you Margaret? Not nearly enough.Happy Spring! Daisy

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