Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Pickerel Frog

I love finding little surprises when I'm weeding my gardens. Last weekend it was a quarter-sized painted turtle hatchling that crawled across our driveway. Yesterday evening (and what a lovely evening it was), while I was weeding the perennials, a large, robust pickerel frog hopped out of a clump of moist leaves.

Pickerel frogs are common, but no less beautiful because of their abundance. They have dark, squarish spots on their back and legs, and bright yellow thighs. The yellow color may be a warning to others (such as snakes or other predators) that its skin is toxic.
Pickerels breed in April and May, laying their eggs in woodland wetlands, then moving into nearby moist fields or meadows or roadside ditches. This one was far from the wetland and near the road, so breeding season must be over for her. I say her because females are a bit bigger than males and this was a big frog. She will keep me company all summer, as I work in the flower beds, weeding, thinning, and planting.

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