Frogs in the Grass

When I think about frogs in the prairie, I usually think of leopard frogs – aka “grass frogs”.  It’s not unusual to see one leaping ahead of me as I walk through our Platte River Prairies, even when I’m not particularly near water.  But during the last couple of years, I’ve been seeing chorus frogs quite a ways from tadpole-rearing sites as well.  A couple weeks ago, I caught one in our yard (middle of town).  After taking a quick trip to school with my son, she’s back in the yard somewhere.  I hope she can find a nice pond by next spring…

Early last summer, I was hiking in Griffith Prairie (Prairie Plains Resource Institute) north of town and came across a chorus frog near the top of a high dry hill.  The closest pond was a few hills away – a long way for a tiny frog to travel through the tall grass.  I had my camera along, so I spent some time photographing the frog, which put up with me very nicely.  Eventually, it jumped and got hung up – temporarily – in some grass, where it kindly stayed long enough for me to get a photo.

A chorus frog on a hilltop at Griffith Prairie (Prairie Plains Resource Institute). My 10-year-old son, who researched chorus frogs after we found the one in our yard, tells me this is a female because there's no dark patch on the throat.

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It's hard not to project human thoughts onto the frog in this photo, isn't it? ("How did I get myself into this mess??")

As far as I know, chorus frogs spend their winter nestled down under grass thatch and/or logs and probably freeze solid when the temperature drops sufficiently.  I’ve had a hard time confirming this, so would love to hear from anyone who has good information.

Big Fat Toad

For no particular reason, other than because I saw this one hopping around on a sand bar of a creek today… 

Here’s a photo of a toad.

Woodhouse's Toad. The Nature Conservancy's Platte River Prairies, Nebraska.

For more information on Woodhouse’s toads, you can refer back to an earlier post from early April.