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The Tadpole Project: Tree Frog Eggs

Sunday, September 18, 2011

 After a rainy night in the first week of July, I was delighted to find a moire of amphibian eggs spread across the surface of our little 200-gallon fishpond in the back yard. This was a first for me. I'd seen American toad eggs in their long spiral jellystrings.  Though I wasn't sure I'd seen their eggs, I knew that green frogs had bred in the pond.  Three adorable little green frog babes in the pond this year attest to that. But these eggs were different, making a carpet of fresh black zygotes across the leaves of my floating heart plant.

Of course, I had my suspicions as to who'd laid them. What amphibian breeds in July after a heavy rain?

Why, the gray tree frog does that. Maybe you've heard its birdlike call, a rolling, hollow and very loud trill, BRRRRRRP! coming from up in the trees in the evening woods in midsummer. It's a true tree frog, with big sticky Velcrolike pads on its toes, impressive jumping skilz, and even madder clinging skilz. It's a Spiderman among frogs.

The gray tree frog is one of those creatures that I feel lucky to know, lucky to have in my backyard fauna. It's a big, hearty creature, cool and sticky, tame and winsome; in color downright licheny. This little fellow was trapped in a fold of plastic on a little country greenhouse (Pleasant Valley Greenhouse) where I love to stop and buy nice plants. He didn't think he was trapped; there was a nice puddle of rainwater in there, but I was afraid he'd cook when the sun came out so the proprietor and I climbed up on a table and got him down.

 And put him on a licheny branch where he'd blend in and be happier.  Well, he felt so comfortable he pinched a big gray tree frog loaf, right there in front of me and everybody. Enh! Enh!

After Chet was wrongly implicated a few times for dropping stray bits on the sidewalk, I've taught my family to recognize toad turds as well as copperhead and rat snake turds. This, my friends, is a gray tree frog turd. Much larger than you'd imagine he could make, about 3/4" long!  Why,  I stepped over an American toad turd on the sidewalk this morning. Solid black, no dab of white like a rat snake's has.  And big. Look for them. Or don't. Whatever floats your boat.

Thus ends my dissertation on toad turds. All good things must end. Ooh, creeper in the treefrog photo!
So imagine my excitement when I found those eggs in the pond. Let's make more tree frogs, shall we? The Tadpole Project continues...


Great post. I wish I had your eyes for details. When I saw the pink color I was excited because once, when I was paddling in Lake Greson in Arkansas, I stopped and walked in the woods and saw a pink frog or toad on the ground. This article reminded me of it but I don't remember that it was blotchy. I'll have to see if Arkansas has pictures of all their amphibians.

Oh my goodness, Murr is going to love this post!

Wayne, PA

Looking forward to tadpole pictures! Also, do I detect a closet Cute Overload fan? I don't see it listed in any of your links, but I'm seeing their special little words popping up here and there in your posts!

The treefrog eggs in your pond is pretty neat, but the coolest part of your post, imho, is the bit about herp poop. Including documenting photos. That's just awesome. /nerd

Polliwogs in Lake Champlain country were always a treasured find, but tree frogs tads...Holy Herps, Batman.
Are you lucky or what!

With increasing age I'm looking a bit "downright licheny" myself... but now I feel I'm in good company!

This is perhaps the type of post the Science Chimp loves the most. I am definitely shocked and slightly appalled at the size of the Gray Tree Frog turd. Who would have thought??? Lucky you!

My pond is void of tads and toads. I might sell my hungry Koi and stick with tiny goldfish :/

Gray treefrog are adventitious breeders. Here in NJ, they usually breed in May and into June, but as you note, they will come out and breed again in July and even August if we have a heavy rain. The later breeding seems more likely to take place in ephemeral pools.

See Julie...only you and I can appreciate poop.


Yes! Frogs!
The poop is just icing on the cake.

Oh my goodness, Murr loves this post!

I am so enjoying your photos, especially the last photo, that is priceless. I too have a blog, a nature section, and you have encouraged me to get out there and shoot my camera more often. I've got some incredible shots of mushrooms, a big old fat toad and hummingbirds. Your work does not go unnoticed and it is very much appreciated. I invite you to stop by and see me sometime also. Looking forward to more great posts from you.
P.S. While in my woods last Sunday I thought of you, I saw a big pile of bear poop. PLEASE take that as a compliment !!!

Oh wow, now I'm going to have check all the turds on the deck to see who's leaving what. The lizards leave turds that have little white sacks of urine attached. But there are other droppings that always make me think rat, but now I'm beginning to suspect all the little froggies we have hiding in the potted tomatoes, petunias, and cactus are actually leaving us turd messages. I am so happy about this.

How perfectly lovely that she has the time to neatly arrange the eggs amid all that laying. Deposit-step-step-deposit-step-step.

The post I'm looking forward to is the tree frog turd dissection.

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