the frogs of march: hot and heavy from the start

SWIMSUIT SEASON got under way last week in near-80 degree weather, but I hope the wide-awake amphibian darlings out back didn’t pack away their winter coats, since 16 degrees is forecast Monday night. As usual, the wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus) got the party started, quacking madly and even doing you-know-what right out in plain view. How immodest! A little slideshow of the bawdy bunch–the frogs of March.

Besides the free love among the wood frogs, there was cross-species peace and harmony–like the thing-to-thigh giant male bullfrog (Lithobates catesbeianus) and much smaller female green frog (Lithobates clamitans clamitans), above, neither of whom seemed aware that he could swallow her in one froggy bite. At one point–though it is far too early for him to be ready for any action–one of the four big bulls who spent the winter in my little backyard pool actually mustered a round of sex talk, as if he was in the mood for love. Ribbit!

Click on the first thumbnail below, then toggle from slide to slide using your keyboard arrows or the arrows beside each caption. Enjoy.

  1. Terryk says:

    I din’t see them but sure heatprd them last week. I guess we will have a silent night tomorrow night as the temps plunge.

  2. Susan says:

    All I know is that here in NJ I had to shut the bedroom window to get some peace and quiet at night. Seems the pond down front is quite the swinging scene right now. What was Mother Nature thinking???

  3. Jen says:

    How cool that you see all that action! We have a marshy area behind our house and often in the spring (or early spring, as it were) the sound of the frogs is deafening, but we don’t actually SEE very many of them. Enjoy the show!

  4. Deborah Banks says:

    I saw yesterday that our pond is full of frog eggs already, as well as some of the big tadpoles that must have overwintered. What’s going to happen to all those eggs when it gets to 4 degrees here the next couple nights? It’s supposed to be a little warmer after that; will the eggs survive?

  5. Martha says:

    Margaret, thanks–I so enjoy your Frog Tales and photos.
    Similar enthusiasm:
    House in central Texas on high pine ridge, its double french doors opening out toward a home-made natural water-feature pool maintained with non-chemicals, filled with rainwater and drained frequently to water garden areas. Returned from a week’s absence and could hear even from entrance of my long driveway a MAGNIFICENT OPERA in full voice. Stunningly beautiful! A large lake across the rural road had long been part of the Performing Arts schedule, but what about this new and enormous chorus from my hill to the west?!! After some searching I found tiny Tree Frogs–could it be possible these are source of such coordinated beauty with the East Lake Frogs??!! An inch long and the voices to compare with The Met’s best?? Seems in my week away the Tiny Tree Frogs had found my pool–which became their Incubator-to-the-Arts for the next several weeks. Such a gift to receive!! I’m delighted to be humble benefactor to some of the most splendid arias choruses and chants I have ever heard. Bravo! Bravo!

  6. zone5grower says:

    I think the striped one is a ‘tiger’ frog. I cleaned out my pond of leaves and branches last week only to find several squirming tadpoles. They seem to have turned into adults this week and peer at me with just their eyes out of the water. They are a good sign to have in the garden as they can only live where water is clean and few pesticides are used.

    1. margaret says:

      Hi, Zone5Grower. She’s a green frog, but looks tiger-ish — because of the markings on her legs. I have many that are close tot he tiger pattern here, with legs like that but not quite tiger-ish. Fascinating how varied they are! Lots of tadpoles here, too, of a couple/few species, and salamanders in the pools as well (two species of those). Love it. Could watch them all forever. Nice to see you!

  7. Johanna says:

    You have such terrific frogs! I miss having a backyard pond where I got visitors. Maybe I’ll take your lead this summer and put in a frog pool in my shady front yard.

    1. margaret says:

      Hi, Tim. Water that’s “open” (not frozen) year-round is the #1 attractant for all kinds of wildlife, so I’d say yes. The wood frogs deposit their eggs in water (even if it’s seasonal water like a shallow vernal pool I think) but not on dry land.

  8. Deborah says:

    Slightly off topic, but just listening to your April chores – asparagus! I am in Michigan and my asparagus has caught me unawares, and is already up. I will be harvesting for the first time this year today – at least 4 weeks ahead of schedule.

    Just wanted to ask, I have weeded the bed but had not yet got round to adding compost and mulch – now it is up is it too late?

    Many thanks,

  9. Terri H. says:

    Thanks again for the frogs! I always love to see the frog shows. One of these days I want to have a frog pond of my own!

  10. Kathy says:

    Right after I looked through your slides w/the frogs I saw on fb my niece leaving a notation that she had come home to find a frog in their kitchen. Had quite a time catching it too. So maybe this will be a froggy year. Also just quick fyi…the first eagle egg has a pip so will be hatching sometime in the next 48 hrs. I’ve learned as I watched the eagles over the last couple years that they are very good parents.

  11. TeriKWeaver says:

    Wow, you weren’t kidding with that frog by frog. If you were in Florida, lived by a state highway and sold pecan logs, you’d have yourself a lucrative business plan. (I mean that as a compliment.)

  12. Tim says:

    ….and should we discuss recipes for frogs legs? How about lightly floured, pan sauteed, with minced garlic and fresh rosemary, with butter sauce? And a good pinot noir or chardonnay? :-))

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