Spring Peepers and other Frogs

     There’s nothing like a chorus of spring peepers in a pond.  It’s a sound worth taking the time to listen to.  I often hear them through the windows of my car as I drive by swamps on the Gunflint Trail.  Every once in awhile I have to pull over, unroll my window and listen in awe.  These very tiny frogs sure do make a very big noise when they sing together.

     Spring peepers are usually the first frogs we hear of the summer.  Even if we can’t hear frogs it doesn’t mean we haven’t been talking or thinking about frogs.  Frog catching is one of Josh’s favorite passtimes during the summer.  He loves to go frog catching wherever he is and can usually identify the type of frog it is.  We’ve had to scold him more than once at portages in the canoe country when he won’t get into the canoe because he wants to catch another frog.  We’ve even given frogs canoe rides and carried them across portages much to my dismay. 

     One summer we had tadpoles we wanted to watch turn into frogs.  We would check their progress daily and by the end of the summer they still didn’t look anything like frogs to us.  We let them go because I feared we were stunting their growth  Then in a recentMinnesota Conservation Volunteer magazine I read that some frog species take more than one summer to go from tadpole to frog.  We might just have to give it a try again this summer.

I was walking along the edge of my pond in November and came across three tadpoles on the ice. Do frogs sometimes reproduce in the fall or are these tadpoles that never underwent metamorphosis? Jeffrey Eifler Chisago City, MN
While most of Minnesota’s 14 species of frogs and toads transform from tadpoles to land-dwellers by midsummer, three species- green frogs, mink frogs and bulfroggs-overwinter as tadpoles and require two to three seasons to fully develop limbs and lungs says DNR herpetologist Carol Hall. Your tadpoles are likely one of these species. Maps showing their distribution in the state are posted at http://www.mndnr.gov/eco/mcbs/amphibians&rreptile_maps.html.