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Archive for the 'Amphibians' Category

California tiger salamander is FINALLY protected

California tiger salamander (Brian Murphy/Walnut Creek, CA)

I received the following information from the Center for Biological Diversity’s weekly e-newsletter for March 11:

On March 3 … “the California Fish and Game Commission voted 3-2 to protect the imperiled California tiger salamander under the state’s Endangered Species Act.

“The sensitive salamander depends on seasonal ponds, or vernal pools, for breeding — but these pools have proven ephemeral in more ways than one. In recent decades, 95 percent of California’s vernal pools has been lost to development — as has at least 75 percent of the species’ habitat across the state.
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Posted on Tuesday, March 16th, 2010
Under: Amphibians, California tiger salamander | No Comments »

The Vanishing Frog and other amphibians are in BIG trouble


Hi Gary:
I’ve been enjoying reading over your Pets and Wildlife blog. Having grown up in the Contra Costa area I am already familiar with your Times work. I thought you might be interested in some upcoming content I will be adding to, a Web site created by the Amphibian Ark and The Clorox Company dedicated to increasing awareness of the amphibian extinction crisis.
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Posted on Monday, October 6th, 2008
Under: Amphibians, Frogs | No Comments »

Dueling frog jump contests will kill more frogs

This year, it is anticipated that over 2,000 participants will jump their frogs in the annual Jumping Frog Jubilee at the Calaveras County Fair in Angels Camp. And if you don’t have a frog, one will be provided to you by the fair if you want to enter the contest.

That means 2000+ frogs will be removed from the wild so they can be manhandled and terrified so that humans can try to win some money from their discomfort.

And now, even more frogs may die:

Associated Press, March 29:
ANGELS CAMP, AP — A quarrel between organizers of the Jumping Frog Jubilee at the Calaveras County Fair has led to plans for dueling frog-hopping contests this year.

The Angels Camp Boosters Club began the Jumping Frog Jubilee in 1928 but were cut out of the competition this year after fair organizers cut the $2,300 stipend to the club and told the boosters their judging services were no longer needed.

The stipend was cut because the fair lost money due to rain and low turnout last year … Boosters were invited to volunteer this year but they decided to plan a separate event after fair officials formed their own committee.

Thousands attend the five-day fair every year, which culminates in the competition featuring frogs entered from around the country. The boosters club is planning its own frog-jump to be held about the same time as the county fair. -30-

So now there will be TWO jumping frog contests. Does this mean 4,000+ amphibians will now be removed from the environment? That’s a HUGE number of frogs to be taken from a local ecosystem.

These are hard times for frogs and toads. The environment continues to be polluted more and more every day. Pollution, disease, fertilizer runoff in streams, and other unknown causes are contributing to the deaths of frogs and toads in the U.S. and around the world.

What we don’t need is for HUGE numbers of these sensitive amphibians to be removed from the wild just so they can die at a couple of silly jumping frog contests.

Posted on Friday, March 30th, 2007
Under: Amphibians | No Comments »

Frog hunting

Wednesday evening, at 9:45 p.m., it was still about 85 degrees in my backyard in Benicia. Yes, a hot day. Lois and I had just finished dinner and while I was clearing the table I spotted an unusual blob on the outside of one of the family room windows. As I was walking over for a closer look, the blob moved up the glass and gobbled an insect that had been attracted to the inside light. It was a treefrog.

Lois and I stood and watched the tiny amphibian (the size of a quarter) for a while as it wandered all around the outside of the window with its sticky feet, gobbling up leafhoppers, tiny moths, a mosquito and a small crane fly. Smart frog to take advantage of the lights to find its dinner.

I told Lois the frog was probably living in the cool depths of the star jasmine plant that covered one end of our back deck with its thick green leaves and lovely white flowers. One edge of the jasmine was about a foot away from the window and the frog. But when I thought about how hot it still was outside, I decided I’d better do something to contribute to the jasmine’s coolness. So I went outside, getting a mouth full of leafhoppers as I opened the sliding glass door, turned on the hose and gave the jasmine a good spray.

As I went back into the house, the now well-fed frog hopped back into the jasmine with a little splash.

Posted on Thursday, June 22nd, 2006
Under: Amphibians, Insects, Pacific treefrogs | No Comments »

The roar of a treefrog chorus

I stuck my head out the back door just before going to bed at 10 p.m. on Monday night (Jan. 2).

The rain had finally stopped and it was almost frosty cold, turning my breath into a lovely piece of art. But the most beautiful thing of all was the thunderous, eardrum shattering ROAR of a Pacific treefrog chorus, bursting with life from somewhere in the depths of my backyard.

Amazing that such a noisy love for life can exist deep inside tiny amphibians the size of a quarter.

I stuck my head out the back door again, just before going to work at 4:30 a.m. on Tuesday morning (Jan. 3).

As I slid open the door, a BLAST of treefrog song shoved me back into the kitchen, slipping past me to knock both cats off the back of the couch from where they were sleeping. They’d been singing all night! Such energy!

I stepped out onto the back deck, raised my arms and clapped my hands together loudly, just once. And there was instant silence.

Wow, I never directed a treefrog symphony before.

Happy New Year!

Posted on Tuesday, January 3rd, 2006
Under: Amphibians, Pacific treefrogs, Wildlife | 1 Comment »

Raking leaves? Watch out for Pacific treefrogs.

I spent most of Sunday morning raking leaves up from my patio. The weather forecast was for rain and I didn’t want to deal with piles of soggy leaves. They were already pretty damp because the nights have been moist lately.

Once I got a decent pile of leaves, I started scooping them up with my hands and tossing them into a large plastic garbage bag. As I grabbed my first handful, I spotted some movement and found myself looking down into the sleepy eyes of a Pacific treefrog, the tiny amphibian with the BIG voice. I carefully separated the little frog from the leaves and released it next to the bird bath, where the scrub jays always keep the area wet with their daily bathing.

By the time I had all the leaves loaded into the bag, there were six treefrogs hiding in the plants around the bird bath and croaking their little heads off, a cappella.

They sounded so great, it inspired me to dump the leaves back on the patio and go through them two more times to make sure I hadn’t missed anybody.

Posted on Monday, November 7th, 2005
Under: Amphibians, Pacific treefrogs, Wildlife | 1 Comment »