The Return of the Frogs

This wacky weather we’re having seems to be confusing the Wood Frogs as well as the spring blooming flowers and trees. Last year we had them hanging out in our little pond for two or three weeks before they disappeared. But this year, it’s a different story. The first Wood Frog appeared in our pond last week, a lone male calling for females to join him. The next day there were three frogs and at least one of them was a female because we saw two of them mating. On day three, the count was four frogs plus an egg mass. (According to The Reptiles and Amphibians of the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area by Alonso Abugattas, females lay several egg masses of up to 3,000 eggs.)

At dusk we saw the frogs hopping out of the pond and heading toward the woods. (I presume that’s where they were going since that’s normally where they live.) That night, and the next, a film of ice covered the pond. There was no sign of the frogs until yesterday when the warmer temperature and rain brought them back again. We heard them calling last night, and this morning four frogs were once again in the pond. However, they are calling for snow Thursday night and Friday.

Wood Frogs are very cold tolerant and can even survive partial freezing of their bodies, but what about that mass of eggs tethered to the Blue Flag Iris in the pond? I’m hoping that the eggs are OK and that the tadpoles will emerge unharmed. Not only are the tadpoles entertaining to watch, but they’ll do a good job of eating the algae on our pond.

For more info about frogs in Virginia, check out Frogs and Toads of Virgina.