April 24, 2020

Frog Watch

Things are hopping at the Saint Louis Zoo North Campus! Remote acoustic recorders are collecting wildlife sounds to help us document and better understand the local wildlife populations. So far this season, our recordings have documented currently 4 frog/toad species (spring peeper, Western chorus frogs, cricket frogs, and American toads) living in our ponds and lakes. We will be sharing those recordings throughout the day!

Help us build an auditory library of frog and toad calls using an app! Anyone can participate at any time. The information gathered will help researchers track where frogs and toads are being spotted in the St. Louis area. Click here for more information. #SaveTheFrogDay #BringTheStlZooToYou

Frog Calls

What is that you hear? That’s right, it is spring and the frogs are out and talking! Here in St. Louis we have several species of frogs that come out and breed early in spring. Males will make their way to the water’s edge and call for females. Each species has its own unique call. In honor of #SaveTheFrogDay tomorrow, here are some species you can hear in and around the St. Louis area this time of year.
 
The spring peeper, a true indicator that spring has arrived. Just like their name implies, spring peepers start calling in the beginning of spring and are often one of the first frog species you can hear each year. Their call is a short “peep” sometimes compared to sleigh-bells and these small frogs are easily recognizable by a prominent cross pattern on their backs. You can hear their high pitch calls as early as February.
 
Chorus frogs call from shallow breeding pools on prairies, floodplains and the grassy edges of marshes in Missouri. The call is a raspy “prrreeep.” This species is specially adapted for cold temperatures, having a natural antifreeze in their blood to keep them from freezing in the winter. This is another species that is often heard very early in spring. #BringTheStlZooToYou

A common and very distinguishable sound this time of year is the American toad. With a long trilling call, these toads often gather around ponds in the evening to breed and are often found at the fountain by the South Entrance of the Zoo.

Cricket frogs are small, bumpy frogs that start calling in March. Although they are found throughout Missouri, their populations in other states are declining. Their call sounds like two pebbles being clicked together, or “gick-gick-gick.”

Using their prominent adhesive toe pads, gray tree frogs are often found in tree holes and perched on leaves and branches. In Missouri, gray tree frogs become active in April. Males gather and call at swamps and pools that are usually devoid of fish. The call of the gray treefrog sounds like a musical birdlike trill. #BringTheStlZooToYou

The Zoo is Good for You

A newly published study by Saint Louis Zoo researchers shows a visit to the zoo is good for your health! We look forward to when we can reopen and once again provide everyone with safe, green spaces to bond with nature.