Meet the Northern Cricket Frog (Acris crepitans)
This small frog is a member of the tree frog family although they do not climb into trees or bushes. It has a rough skin and can be range in colour from greenish brown, yellow, red, to even black. The most distinct features are its dark triangular patch between the eyes and dark stripes on its thigh. The length of these frogs average around 2.5 cm, but despite their small size, this frog can jump a surprising long distance of 5-6 feet (152-182 cm)! These frogs also have extensive webbing between its hind toes which make them excellent swimmers.
There are many different types of Cricket frogs and many look similar so the best way to distinguish them is through their calls. The call of a Northern Cricket frog starts in midsummer. Its call sounds like two pebbles clicking together for about 20 beats; slow at first then speeding up after. Click here to hear. One female can lay up to 400 eggs, one at a time. The eggs are either attached to vegetation or scattered across the bottom of the water. The tadpoles will hatch after about 4 days and will feed on suspended matter, organic debris, algae, and plant tissue. They usually turn into an adult frog in 5 to 10 weeks after hatching.
The Northern Cricket frog is currently an endangered species and is listed under the Ontario Endangered Species Act, 2007 for protection against it and its environment. These frogs are sadly only found on Pelee Island. They live on aquatic plants in the shorelines bordering ponds, streams, natural marshes, or any slow moving bodies of water. Their population has been declining since the 1970s; however a reason for this decline is unknown. Threats facing these frogs currently are habitat loss, degradation, and pesticide contamination.
Adopt- A-Pond is helping by participating and funding research that categorizes wetlands on Pelee Island to protect and improve Northern Cricket frog habitat. We also install frog-loggers, a device to record their calls, to monitor the change in population numbers and their habitat range.
You can help protect these Northern Cricket Frogs by joining our FrogWatch Ontario program. You can report any sightings of these frogs and help us identify where they live .This data will be used to help with the Ontario frog and toad distribution mapping, and help identify important wetland habitats that need to be protected.
To report a sighting, please visit FrogWatch Ontario.