A Toad and a Treefrog

Top Photo: Cope’s gray treefrog on cedar limb.

March thru April is the peak breeding season for American toads here at the museum and they’ve been out calling and mating in numbers. American toads are one of two true toads found here on the Piedmont, the other is Fowler’s toad. I’ve only heard Fowler’s toad on one or two occasions on our campus. American toad is the one you’re most likely to see and hear.

American toad.
Rings of water created by its vibrating body surround this toad as it calls from wetlands.

The warm weather of this winter and early spring brought the toads out early and many have already bred. Watch for their tiny black tadpoles in the swamp adjacent to the Main Wetlands Overlook. They should be evident in the next several weeks.

Another amphibian common to the museum is the Cope’s gray tree frog. I’ve seen only a few so far this season, but it won’t be long before they’ll be calling out from wetland trees, fence posts, and any other objects near the water. They can, though, be tough to spot due to their cryptic coloration. And, they can change color and may be gray, brown, whitish, or even green. Often, they look much like a clump of lichen on a tree trunk.

Cope’s gray treefrog.

Whatever color they are, they always have a whitish trapezoidal shaped mark under the eye, a sure giveaway to their identity. Their call is usually a quick, harsh trill, never very long in duration.

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