Event: Learn About Frogs at the Royal Botanical Gardens with Adopt-A-Pond on March 21 @ 11:00 a.m. and again @ 1:30 p.m.

Wood Frog Calling Photo by: Scott Gillingwater

Wood Frog Calling
Photo by: Scott Gillingwater


There may still be some ice on the pond but now is the season to get outside and start listening for frogs!

Early spring is the time when frogs wake up from hibernation and start to call for a mate. March through April brings out our earliest calling species, including Wood frogs (Lithobates sylvaticus), Spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer) and Chorus frogs (Pseudacris triseriata); followed closely by the sounds of American toads (Anaxyrus americanus), Leopard frogs (Lithobates pipiens) and Pickerel frogs (Lithobates  palustris) from April through May. Once the weather really picks up in late May, our summer callers get started, first with the Gray treefrog (Hyla versicolor), followed by Green frogs (Lithobates clamitans), Mink frogs (Lithobates septentrionalis), and Bullfrogs (Lithobates catesbeianus) from June and into July.

Fun fact, as the weather warms from the south to the north, you can see a ripple effect in the times that frog species start to call. That means as you travel north you can track seasonal temperatures changes using frog calls! For example, the warmth of Lake Ontario may bring out Grey tree frogs at the same time American toads are getting started in Huntsville, and Wood frogs are still heard in North Bay.  Don’t worry North Bay warm weather is on its way!

So why do frogs call at different times? Many biologists believe it’s to limit competition for food and allows resources to replenish for the next wave of growing frogs. One frog or toad can lay anywhere from 100 to 10,000 eggs. That’s a lot of mouths to feed all at once. Tadpoles and frogs will eat different things at different stages of their life. For example, when tadpoles first emerge from their jelly coated eggs they are strictly vegetarian and eat mostly algae, but by the end of the month they will have grown teeth and started consuming more animal matter, like invertebrates. This variable diet helps different life stages of frogs live in the same pond without impacting each other’s food sources.

Want to lean more? Join Adopt-A-Pond at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton this month:

March 21 @ 11:00 a.m. and again @ 1:30 p.m.

Workshop Name: Adopt-A-Pond Wetland Conservation Presents: How Clean Is Your Water? Ribbit! Identify Ontario Frogs Through Sound and Learn How These Happy Hoppers Relate to the Health of Our Environment.

Age: recommended ages 5+

Duration: 60 minutes

Capacity: 50 people

Location: Café Annex

You can also check out the Adopt-A-Pond website to start identifying frogs and learning your local frog calls: Ontario Frogs.

And be sure to help us monitor Ontario frog populations by submitting you frog sightings through FrogWatch!

When you see or hear a frog anywhere in Ontario you can submit your sighting to FrogWatch. We will send you a free resource package including a Frogs of Ontario poster, laminated ID guide and frog call CD. All frog sightings collected are shared with our conservation partners to protect and learn about frog populations across Ontario!

For more information about Toronto Zoo conservation programs visit http://www.torontozoo.com/conservation/