Wonderful World of Frogs Video Series – Episode 2
Frog Identification, Part 1
Every spring, male frogs make their presence known by calling to the females. Their message? “Here I am female frogs, come and claim me!” It is believed that the louder the call, the more attractive the male. Loud means big, strong and older and one that is assumed to be smarter since he has avoided predators. Frogs have been calling since before the time of the dinosaurs. It is believed that frogs are the first land vertebrate animals to “sing.”
The intensity of frog calling depends on temperature and rainfall. Wood frogs, chorus frogs and spring peepers sometimes start calling in mid – late February if daytime temperatures rise into the fifties. As the nights warm, frogs switch to night calling to avoid the attention of daytime predators such as birds. On warm, rainy nights, frog calls can be so loud that you cannot hold a conversation at the swamp! In New Jersey, late March, April and early May is the best period to look and listen for frogs. The loudness of the froggy chorus is the best way to judge the health of the frog population in your neighborhood. If the bogs are dry from lack of rain the frogs may be quiet. If the bogs are full of water but you don’t hear frogs in April, the population may be in trouble from pollution. If the bogs get filled in, you may never hear frogs there again.
You might not see the frogs, but you sure can hear them. Learning frog calls is the best way to identify frogs. This can be challenging, so we are only going to introduce about 7 frogs at a time, starting with the most common frogs heard in Cape May. You may have different frogs in your neighborhood so please watch for Frog Identification, Part 2. Remember, frogs call loudest when it is DARK, WARM and WET! For best results, locate a good bog during the day and figure out the best path in (Don’t forget to ask permission if the bog is on private property). Invest in a rain coat, boots and a good flashlight, preferably with a curved lens. My $20.00 flashlight is so powerful that I can photograph frogs with my cell phone. Frogging is a fun but chilly adventure, so get in some hot chocolate for the kids when you get home!
Please disturb as little as possible and do leave all frogs in the wild so they can continue their singing and make more frogs.
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