Wood Frog eggs hatched — Tadpole time!!
Remember those rain events around March 5-10? Well in spite of the chilly temperatures, Wood Frogs (along with Spotted and Jefferson Salamanders) migrated by the thousands to vernal pools tucked in and around forests near you.
They likely braved crossing the road (twice!) and moved from the woodland habitats where they live the majority of their lives (up to 1/4 mile away) to the vernal pools where they were born to mate, lay eggs and then return to the forest.
Over the past two weeks, this new generation of frogs and salamanders has been developing….. the cold nights we had a couple of times froze eggs that were on the surface of the water and killed those individuals, but the ones below the water continued to develop, and now have hatched!
I love this time of year (ok, I love every time of year for all it’s natural wonders, but this time is especially fun for amphibian life)! Things are happening so fast yet on the surface we may not notice all the changes that are going on.
The photos here are from the little pond we have in our front yard (yes – ponds and gardening for wildlife can and should be done in the front, the back and the sides of our yards :))
Over the next few weeks, these tadpoles will develop from aquatic beings to terrestrial froglets, growing legs (hind legs first since frogs hop), and breathing air. They’ll leave our little pond and head into the forest where they’ll live the rest of the year, hopefully to return next March to breed and continue this amazing cycle! Stay tuned for more photos as I try to catch them at different stages.
You can create a pond for your yard too – it’s really easy. Here’s the write-up I did awhile back right after we set up the ponds at our house: Build a Frog Pond. Remember – just let the amphibians come to you, resist the urge to have instant frogs by buying them at the nursery (they’ll eat your native population of frogs and disrupt the balance)