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Leopard Frogs – Too Little, Too Late

leopard-frogs-in-puddle-by-kelly-maginnis-northampton-ma-12-10-16At this time of year one would expect to find Leopard Frogs lying on the bottom of a pond, partially but not completely covered with leaves or mud as they hibernate their way through winter. Because of the depth of a pond, and the fact that in winter the water temperature is around 39°F., ice isn’t an issue at the bottom of a pond, and the frogs and turtles that overwinter there don’t usually freeze.

However, sometimes ponds freeze over before amphibians or reptiles that overwinter in them arrive at their hibernacula. Apparently this is what happened to these Leopard Frogs, and they took refuge in the only open body of water they could find – a large but shallow puddle about 10’ wide by 20’ long in a dirt road. Shortly after they arrived temperatures dropped and the frogs were trapped under (and eventually will be encased in) the ice. Unlike Wood Frogs, Spring Peepers and Gray Treefrogs, Leopard Frogs are not freeze tolerant, so their demise is inevitable. (Thanks to Kelly Maginnis for photo, and Jim Andrews for his herpetological expertise.)

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14 responses

  1. Alice Pratt

    😢 That is very sad 😓

    December 13, 2016 at 7:22 am

  2. Annie Hale

    Sad, especially as frogs are so endangered! Need all those healthy breeding creatures.

    December 13, 2016 at 8:18 am

  3. Diane

    Very sad to learn this.

    December 13, 2016 at 8:49 am

  4. cwetfeet

    A frozen dinner for some mink or raccoon probably.

    December 13, 2016 at 9:35 am

  5. Pat

    Oh, that’s tragic! In NH leopard frogs are a species of special concern, classified as “Vulnerable to extirpation or extinction.”

    December 13, 2016 at 10:19 am

  6. This is depressing. Was there no way to rescue them at the time the photo was taken, or had they already succumbed to the cold even before being frozen solid?

    December 13, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    • According to the experts, cell damage has probably occurred, and sadly, even if rescued and moved to an open pond, they would probably not have survived.

      December 13, 2016 at 6:57 pm

  7. Dianne Wright

    OH !! So sad, Mary, but I appreciate knowing this.

    Sent from my iPad


    December 13, 2016 at 3:16 pm

  8. Mary, can you tell me what state this was in?

    December 13, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    • Northampton, MA. Let me know if you want me to put you in touch with the person who saw them.

      December 13, 2016 at 6:56 pm

  9. Alas…and such an abundance of them there too. Another example of many I too have witnessed in the past year of various seasonal species being caught short by the increasingly erratic climate rhythms we’re experiencing.

    December 13, 2016 at 4:26 pm

  10. Hope McLaughlin

    POW! POW! Perfect ! Pesto!!!!!

    Yum-a-dum-dum! Thank you!!!! We will get into that right away. Such a lovely green! My mouth is watering already.

    Thank you, Annie and Paul. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!!!


    Hope and Rick


    December 13, 2016 at 8:33 pm

  11. This is so sad!! 😦

    December 13, 2016 at 9:42 pm

  12. Very sad, I do hope a predator comes along and eats them up.

    December 14, 2016 at 8:09 am

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