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Solving Problems with Nature - Naturally

Certified Wildlife Biologist
Wildlife Author - Wildlife Lecturer - Wildlife Photographer
Non-Lethal Control of Bats since 1983

NH Nature

New Hampshire Nature Notes by Eric Orff

Tuesday 03/20/2012 It's time to think frogs and salamanders in New Hampshire

This is a photo of a wood frog. They are the first to head to our wetlands to lay eggs. Their call is a duck-like quack and can be heard in the wetlands after dark. They spend their winters frozen solid under the forest leaf litter. All life ceases for them for months. They are truly frozen frogicles!

Frogs and salamanders are on the move in New Hampshire every rainy night. If at all possible AVOID driving after dark on rainy nights. Upwards of 80 percent of the yellow spotted salamanders will be moving to their breeding wetlands over the next week or two. Spring peepers and wood frogs are already on the move with salamanders and toads right on their heels. Get that gallon of milk on your way home from work and keep off the roads any rainy night for the next month or more.

If you must drive. Focus, focus, focus on the road right in front of your car. When I leave the state highway on my way home any rainy night, I slow down, way down, to about 15 to 20 mph. Look for small moving things in the road, or really any small object on the smooth wet road surface. Spotted salamanders are black, coal black, but their skins shins in the dark. You can spot them. In the mile and a half from the state road to my house I often can see a dozen or more frogs in the road. If my wife is driving I need to point them out for her. I am a very involved passenger on rainy nights.

Spring peepers tend to hunker down when your headlights hit them. They are thimble sized creatures but, with care, can be spotted. Toads are the walking "frogs". If it is not hopping when moving, it's a toad. Tree frogs hop a little later, many in May. They have a square kind of hop, straight up, sideways and back down. Bull frogs are leapers covering a big distance each hop. See, by slowing down you to can save, and learn your amphibians.

And it is not just avoiding to drive on rainy nights that you can help our amphibians. Five years ago the Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must regulate air pollution impacting or fine web footed friends. Pollution such as mercury, arsenic, cadmium and carbon that are harming our amphibians. You can help by asking our congressmen and women to support the EPA's efforts. You can make a big difference on the survival of some of our smallest and most vulnerable creatures. Frogs are our friends respect them by making those calls and staying home rainy nights.


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