Pickerel Frogs and Green (blue) Snakes

It was still raining on July 5 as I headed out to the Wetlands along the paved path on the Explore the Wild/Catch the Wind loop. As I walked along, I could see ahead of me small frogs hopping to the left and to the right, hopping to get out of the way as I approached. There were hundreds of frogs!

Standing motionless on the pavement, these little frogs weren’t easy to spot among the debris on the path left by the previous night’s storms. They were Pickerel Frogs, each newly morphed from tadpoles and, apparently, eager to get on with the next phase of their lives. The books state that Pickerel Frog tadpoles mature after 70 to 80 days. Given a week or two for the eggs to hatch, I’d say that they’re right on time. The Wetlands was full of amorous Pickerel Frogs back in March and these little frogs were obviously the result of that ardor.

After seeing a Rough Green Snake last month in front of the Mist Garden in Catch the Wind, some sharp-eyed Museum Summer Campers spotted another on the 1st of July. Unfortunately, this snake had expired and was found on the side of the pavement near the main entrance to Catch the Wind. The snake had a small blue patch on its side, which means it hadn’t been dead long.

Rough Green Snakes turn blue after death. The color change has to do with the presence of yellow and blue pigments in the snake’s skin. As you may recall from art class, yellow and blue make green. The yellow pigment in the snake’s skin breaks down first after death, leaving only the blue pigment.

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