Frogs Mature

A newly morphed bullfrog.
A newly morphed bullfrog.

If you’ve walked through the Wetlands lately you may have noticed amphibians floating on the water or perched on sticks, logs, or rocks in or next to the water. The amphibians are two inches or so from the tip of their noses to the end of their bodies. Some of them are trailing tails, vestiges of their days as tadpoles. Others have already absorbed their tails and appear as miniature adults.

These amphibians are bullfrogs. They are, in fact, the product of last year’s bullfrog breeding and are just recently morphing into their adult form. It may take one, two, even three years further north, for bullfrogs to reach their adult form.

Bullfrogs here in our Wetlands are an important food source, as both tadpoles and adults, for many species of wildlife, including raccoon, gray fox, red-tailed hawk, kingfisher, green and great blue herons, hooded mergansers, occassionally pied-billed grebes, water snakes, and even other bullfrogs.

Perched on a floating willow branch, this young frog still totes a small tail.
Perched on a floating willow branch, this young frog still totes a small tail.
Note the long, shriveling tail on this individual.
Note the long, shriveling tail on this individual.

These frogs can grow to over eight inches (not including out-strecthed legs), so the frogs still have some growing to do. They won’t be able to breed for another couple of years.┬áIf they’re careful, they have some eight years to reach their full potential.

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