Spring is just around the corner and the 10 species of frogs that can be found in Muskoka have already taken note of its arrival and are getting ready to emerge from a long winter’s sleep.
Some of the small frog species found in Muskoka, such as Spring Peepers, Wood Frogs and Gray Treefrogs, have been hidden under leaves and logs and other natural debris all winter long. They have been almost completely frozen without even a heartbeat! The warmer weather is thawing them out and they will soon begin their journey to the nearest wetland to find a mate.
Among the first species of frogs to make their presence known in Muskoka each spring are the Spring Peepers. They are tiny treefrogs that grow to no more than 3-cm in length. Their individual calls are a peep that sounds like a small bird. Their collective calls, however, can be so loud that you can hear them as you drive by…. even if the car windows are shut tight and you are listening to your favourite playlist! In the spring you can hear them all over Muskoka as millions of them add their peeping calls to wetlands throughout our watershed.
Other frog species in Muskoka, like the Green Frog, hibernate through the winter at the bottom of a pond or other shallow wetlands in the cold water under the ice (not buried in the mud as you might have heard). They absorb what little oxygen they need from the water and their heartbeat slows dramatically until the ice melts and the water begins to warm.
Another Muskoka frog species, American Toads (and yes, American Toads are frogs), survive the winter in deep hibernation at the bottom of a deep tunnel in the earth safely below the frost line. It is only when the earth begins to warm in the spring that they awaken and emerge from the ground.
The 10 species of frogs found in Muskoka are fascinating and incredibly hardy. They include:
Each one of these species has its own call… and none of them say “Ribbit”!
You can learn more about these fascinating frog species, see great pictures of them and listen to their calls on the FrogWatch website