TETTEGOUCHE STATE PARK
Frogs and Toads
On the day I hiked this route, the trails seemed almost alive with hopping toads and frogs. Their breeding season over, they had turned their backs on the ponds and lakes and were making tracks of their own. I had to watch carefully where I stepped. Their numbers made it difficult to understand how some populations could be engaged in a struggle for survival. Their moist, permeable skin, and reliance on bodies of water for reproduction and development, make them susceptible to the harmful effects of environmental changes brought on by humans.
One toad and at least seven frogs make their home in northeastern Country. They fill the air with their raspy mating choruses long before the songbirds of summer arrive with their more pleasing notes. However, in some parts of the world, the calls of these creatures, and the creatures themselves, have disappeared. Species are declining or have gone extinct from Brazil, Puerto Rico, the Andes Mountains, Norway, Australia, and North America, especially California and the Pacific Northwest.
In his article for Audubon, Jon Luoma writes about some of these cases and some of the possible causes. For example: the Golden Toad, discovered in 1964 in a Costa Rican rain forest. In 1987, biologists, counting 1,500 breeding toads, considered the frog abundant. However, they have not been able to find any since 1990 and the toad is presumed extinct without any known cause. In Australia, the same is true for the Gastric Brooding Frog. Newly discovered in 1973, and described as abundant in 1976, none have been found since 1980.
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