Thursday, October 03, 2013

Baby Jabba - There's at Least a Little Amphibian Reproduction Occuring Around Here!

Busy times lately:  dear friends came in for a nice, long visit and my uncle & aunt from Norway were also in town for a week!  Needless to say, although I did get some pictures taken, I didn't get to any blogging - either reading or writing.

Then, too, there's the government shutdown.  I wanted to take my uncle & aunt to the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, but by the time our schedules coincided, the shutdown had shuttered the Preserve.  Their loss for not being able to experience the tallgrass prairie;  Strong City's & Cottonwood Fall's loss because we were planning to spend the day, complete with visits to local restaurants and galleries.

We won't get into the fact that my husband is an "essential" civilian employee on McConnell AFB....

Last but not least, I'm bummed because the shutdown has also shuttered the USDA's Plant Profile site, which I love to visit.  I check out the ranges of native plants, as well as exploring the variety of species found within certain genera.  I feel half blind right now, without this reliable resources to go to.

Now, having wasted more than enough time on Facebook sharing my opinion of the government shutdown (as well as contacting all of my elected representatives about the issue), I've decided it's time to catch up a little on editing, organizing and sharing some of the photos I've been taking.

This summer I've been excited to see and hear about quite a few, different, small amphibians making their appearance.  It's been many years since anyone around here has seen the large emergences of tiny frogs and toads that used to occur annually when my family first moved here in the early 1970's.  It's even been rare to see a single small toad or frog in recent years, although larger ones are not uncommon.

This summer, though, I've seen a couple small toads in the garden - mainly at night - and even a small frog or two.  Usually these sightings are quick glimpses, but last week I had small toad with a death defying wish to be seen, trying valiently to share the mulched path to the trashcans with me for a day or two.  To my knowledge, he/she survived the experience, although I haven't seen him recently.

As well as wanting to be seen, he also apparently wanted to have his picture taken.  I had to go back inside to get the camera, but he was still waiting for me when I came back out.

In fact, he struck several different poses for me.

Based on my Amphibians, Reptiles, and Turtles in Kansas, I believe this guy to be a young Woodhouse's Toad, Anaxyrus woodhousii.  This is, like so many toads, a species that is normally active at night, so I don't know why I was seeing this little one so often during the day, but I appreciate making his acquaintance.

A last note, especially for those of you who have swimming pools.  Check your filters regularly!  A month ago, a friend asked me to clean out their pool filter while they were away for a while.  The first time I cleaned it out, I found about 10 living, and many more dead, baby narrowmouth toads.  I rescued the living and put them in the shrubbery around a nearby fish pond.  Several days later, when I cleaned the filter out again, I found 2 adult frogs, as well as innumerable small frogs and toads again caught in the well of the filter.  Luckily, this time most of them were alive and I was again able to rescue them.  I don't know what the answer is to this problem, but I sincerely doubt this was an isolated incident, especially as dry as our area has been in the past few years.  With more and more pools being built, I suspect this is an increasingly large cause of mortality in our local amphibian populations.

How is the amphibian reproduction going in your part of the country?

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