Thirsty Thursday

Folks,

Sometimes having water isn’t about a puddle, a stream, or a pond.

This here American Toad is an amphibian, and yes, they need that spring pool to lay eggs. But like plenty of other wildlife, toads can get the moisture they need if they can find the right shady spot, maybe tucked away in a shady corner where the leaves have gathered under your bushes.

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Gray Tree Frog

Hey there,

Hickory here taking over for Nutmeg. We’ve all fallen a bit behind here because of preparing for winter. I may as well announce to our newer followers that The Squirrel Nutwork goes into hibernation over the winter. We don’t have a set day yet, just whenever Nutmeg thinks we need to. Kind of weather dependent.

So on to today’s post:

Sometimes we squirrels are forgetful. Not one, but two readers sent us photos of gray tree frogs over the summer, and we just found them again. Oops. Time to share, even though these little frogs will soon be hibernating.

Gray Tree frog 2

Tree frogs are named because they live in trees, in damp areas but directly in water. These arboreal amphibians are small, about an inch long, so we pass along our congratulations to our readers, Nancy and Michael, for spotting them!

Gray Tree Frog 3

Like all other frogs, they do eat insects and if they are living near your human houses, they will come out at night to catch the insects that are drawn to lights.

Gray Tree Frog 1

Yes, even though it’s green, this is still a gray tree frog. They can change color to camouflage to what they are sitting on, ranging from nearly black to a very pale color. It’s a very slow change though.

Obviously, being so small, tree frogs are prey to many larger animals, including snakes and birds. That’s where the camouflage comes in handy, as well as this:

Gray Tree Frog 4

See that stripe that goes right through the eye? It hides the frog’s eye and along with the other mottling on the tree frog’s skin, it makes it hard to see their face and specific shape. Good trick, huh?

Thank you again to our readers who shared their photos!

One of Nature’s Mysteries To Solve

Hey there!

Seems we’ve had a lot of mystery plants lately. How about a mystery frog for a change!

Mystery # 124

What kind of frog is it, and how can you tell?

I’ll check back for your guesses!

~~~

No one ventured out in the heat to take a guess today. A late hint…it’s not by the color. Any of our local large frogs can be brown to tan to green.

This huge hopper is a Bullfrog. One way to tell is by looking at the webbing in a bullfrog’s toes; on the longest middle toe, the webbing does not go all the way to the tip of the toe. But how many of you human readers have been that close to a bullfrog–how many of us squirrels, for that matter? 

The easiest way to tell on a frog sitting out of the water like this old fellow, is by the back. A Bullfrog does not lave those ridges running along the sides of his back. In science-speak, they are called the dorsolateral ridges. For comparison, here is a Green Frog, who does have the ridges.

dorsolateral ridges on Green Frog

See the difference? Hope this helps next time you are lurking around a pond and hopping with curiosity!

 

T is for Toad on Thirsty Thursday

Pretty good day for this old squirrel for matching the Blogging A to Z Challenge letter and Ol’ Wally’s regular water column. All amphibians have a ‘double life’, including the American Toad who starts his life as a tadpole in the water.

American Toad

Though they don’t continue to live in water, toads–which you can tell apart from frogs because of their bumpy skin–continue to live in damp areas. Their skin is kind of fragile, especially if you compare it to something like a squirrel’s nice fur coat. We are rough and ready!

Some folks in these parts like to encourage toads to stay in their gardens. They leave drifts of leaves in the corners so the toads can hide during the heat of the day, then come out at night to eat those pesky slugs. Ms. Flora tells me some of the neater humans remove all their leaves, so if you’re one of those, may I recommend some other shelter? Maybe one of these fancy houses?

Toad House

I can’t guarantee it works as well as damp leaves, but anything is worth a try to keep the slug population in check!

F is for Frogs

Green Frog

We squirrels love frogs. They don’t eat acorns or sunflower seeds, meaning we are not in competition for the same foods in the suburban yards or on the neighboring decks. Birds, on the other hand, Hickory has had words about.

“Many words!” Hickory chitters. “Those juncos have stretched their welcome this year with spring arriving so late.”

Our local Green frog hasn’t made his appearance yet, at least to us. They won’t be mating until things warm up, so maybe they are making a slower emerge this year.

Don’t forget, F is also for Facebook Friends. We have a page. Come like us!

Thanks!

Thirsty Thursday

Folks, Ol’ Wally spotted a Red-backed Salamander the other day, in the damp mud beside a little pond. It’s a sighting most won’t see this time of year–too hot and dry.

salamanderSalamanders, like frogs have got to stay damp, or their skin loses its protective coating of slime. That’s important because this salamander breathes through his skin. Seriously, he doesn’t have lungs, so he has to stay in a wet area.

Despite its delicate look, this salamander is a sharp little predator, coming out at night and feeding on insects and spiders. But I’d hazard a guess he’s been spotted before. This guy has lost something–the tip of his tail. Luckily for him, this old squirrel had a full belly and no inclination to run.

Thirsty Thursday

Folks, looks like we’ve got us some tadpoles in the pond.

tadpoles

See the little guys? Ol’ Wally here thinks they may be Wood frogs.  They are eating steady at the algae and soon we’ll be able to tell. Of course, they may be eaten first. Those big bullfrogs are ferocious eaters. I’ve heard tell of many a backyard pond keeper who despairs when a bullfrog moves in. Tough decisions for you humans, but keep in mind, it happens in the real ponds, too!