Families

Males frogs sing a chorus to attract females

A red-legged frog sits on a tree near the Stimpsom Family Nature Reserve.
A red-legged frog sits on a tree near the Stimpsom Family Nature Reserve. The Bellingham Herald

Several kinds of frogs call Whatcom County home, and their voices are heard most prominently in spring — trying to find a mate.

“We have only one native frog that makes a distinctive chorusing, and that’s the Pacific chorus frog,” said Vikki Jackson, a wetlands biologist and program manager at the Whatcom County Amphibian Monitoring Program. “They’re very small, the size of a quarter or half-dollar, but they can belt out quite a chorus.”

Jackson said the males are singing to attract females, who lay their round, dark-colored eggs in water, held together by a jelly-like substance. The fish-like tadpoles hatch in a few days, developing over a few weeks into full-fledged frogs.

Frogs are amphibians, meaning they can move from land to water and back again. They can swim under water, but must surface to breathe.

The best places to see frogs locally are Tennant Lake Park and Stimpson Family Nature Reserve.

Jackson said frogs are found near water such as wetland puddles, water-filled ditches, and small ponds and marshes.

“They do best where there are no fish,” she said.

Other frogs in Whatcom County include the red-legged frog and the bullfrog — a large, loud, invasive species that was imported from east of the Mississippi.

Best places to see frogs locally are Tennant Lake Park, along the marsh trail; at Stimpson Family Nature Reserve, near the beaver pond and at the far side of Geneva Pond; and Squires Lake Park, especially the Beaver Pond.

For more information about frogs, so to whatfrogs.org. Listen to male Pacific chorus frog, also known as a Pacific tree frog, at youtube.com/watch?v=lFojjllBFOk. Watch a frog grow from egg to tadpole to frog at youtube.com/watch?v=wAcwjWi6I9Y.

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