Wildlife

In Case You Missed It

It’s that time of the year again- time to watch for frog eggs, listen for sandhill cranes, examine thatch ants and watch for salamanders.

Game Camera: Sandhill Cranes

Perhaps you’ve heard the distinctive call of the sandhill cranes recently? -Patches We’re actually in at the very south edge of the breeding range for Sandhill Cranes. They’re not particularly picky eaters- they’ll eat snakes, frogs, insects, seeds… Often, we’ll see them in the spring, hunting frogs in shallow water.

Frog Eggs and Toad Eggs

Spring seems to have finally arrived, and soon the pond will be full of little frogs. As it turns out, frog eggs and toad eggs are different, and far easier to tell apart than the tadpoles. Frog eggs typically form nice clumps. -this years batch are particularly muddy. Toad eggs, however, will generally be in… Continue reading Frog Eggs and Toad Eggs

Thatch Ants

Our mound-building ants in this part of the country are Western Thatching Ants, Formica obscuripes.These ants are rather special because they generally have multiple active queens in a single colony – the young queens often help out and reproduce at home, instead of founding their own new colonies…

Usually I don’t see Salamanders

We seem to have made a good location great for salamanders – ours are long-toed salamanders.  Despite being in a near-perfect location for salamanders, most of the time we don’t see them.  The information is online– and the field guide does a pretty good job explaining why we see them rarely.  They’re classified as “mole”… Continue reading Usually I don’t see Salamanders

Wildlife

Frog Eggs and Toad Eggs

Spring seems to have finally arrived, and soon the pond will be full of little frogs. As it turns out, frog eggs and toad eggs are different, and far easier to tell apart than the tadpoles.

Toad eggs (left) and Frog Eggs (right), both from the pond, though the toad eggs are from a previous year.

Frog eggs typically form nice clumps. -this years batch are particularly muddy. Toad eggs, however, will generally be in strands. While the eggs will typically hatch within two weeks or so, it’s still possible to tell the difference in the next stage.

Tadpoles: The frog version will typically school. Eating eggs (or smaller tadpoles) is less common in frogs, and so there’s less reason to avoid the relatives. And, safety in numbers! After all, tadpoles are definitely small enough to be on the menu for dragonfly larvae.

Our local toad tadpoles seem to be far less inclined to form large schools. While not typically seen alone, they are generally doing their own thing and not associated with other tadpoles. Since toad tadpoles are willing to consume pretty much anything smaller than them (including younger tadpoles), this makes some sense.

Other than using behavioral clues, toad tadpoles are somewhat stockier than the frog tadpoles. It is, all things being equal, far easier to make the identification from the eggs.