Fabulous Frogs

FrogsSouthernleopardfrogbyMikeColvin512W

They can be green or brown or a combination of the two, come in a variety of sizes from the small spring peepers to the massive bull frog, and in the spring they make a lot of noise. Frogs are an essential element of the ecosystem and an indicator to us of the health of that ecosystem.


As Kermit said, “It’s not easy being green.” Frog populations have been declining due to habitat loss, disease, invasive species, and pollution. Frogs are very sensitive to water pollution due to their skin allowing water and air to pass directly into their bodies. For them being in polluted water is the same as us drinking it – we will get sick. Places like Black Bayou provide clean water and a good location for frogs to thrive.

Frogs are important parts of the food web both as predators and as prey. Even as tadpoles, frogs are key predators. Mosquito larva are a food source for tadpoles so in an ecosystem with frogs, they can help control the mosquito populations before they get to the stage where they cause humans problems. As adults frogs will eat a variety of insects and in the case of the bullfrog, anything it can fit in its mouth. As prey – frogs are food for birds, snakes, alligators, and fish among others including humans.

 
FroggreentreefrogbyDaveMarcum350W

There are at least 30 species of frogs in Louisiana who inhabit a variety of habitats. Since frogs can be very hard to see, due to their camouflage and tendency to leap into the water whenever something approaches, researchers do a lot of their population studies based on listening to the volume and number of individuals calling. For the average person, learning frog calls gives you a good idea about the wildlife around you.

 

FroggreentreefrogbyWillWatson350W

Black Bayou Lake is a perfect place to listen to the frogs and on a spring day after a rain it can be deafening with all their calls. Contrary to popular belief, there are no frogs in Louisiana who say “ribbit”. Frog calls can vary from the bird-like “peep” of a spring peeper, to the chuckling of a southern leopard frog, or the “baah” call of an eastern-narrowmouth toad. There are numerous websites that can help you learn frog calls and it can be a perfect family activity. Hopefully you don’t even have to be at a refuge to listen to frogs. In Louisiana there is water all around us and for many reasons, it’s best that water is inhabited by frogs since we need clean water as much as they do.